Do It Again In 2010

When I started blogging almost 4 years ago, I was very organized. I set benchmarks by fiscal quarter and tallied results. Staying organized is still critical for me lest I start slacking off (it happens). But spreadsheets and SMART goals do not guarantee success as a writer.
 

Another year my goals and resolutions were all about conventions. Meeting other writers is important. Talking with editors and agents and keeping up with trends in the business is necessary. It does not guarantee success as a writer.
 

Last year I focused on one task. I finished a book I was sure was great. However, no agent I've contacted has been interested in representing the project. Hard work and a desire to succeed is not enough.
 

I've written every day for a month. I've written in 15-minute sprints and 5-hour slogs. I've written alone and with others, given feedback and been critiqued, had some acceptances and plenty of rejections, had lucky breaks and near misses, been happy as a clam and bitter as day-old coffee, written flash and short and long formats, made great friends and been to wonderful places, all of which has made me a better writer.
 

It has not brought what I or (let's be honest) most writers would consider professional success.
 

Writing fiction is a tough, hard profession and it's in a time of unprecedented uncertainty in most every aspect of the business. One can be organized and committed, networking and connected, and writing and writing and writing. And still fail.
 

So why do it? I could fulfill my creative side in other ways. I certainly earn a lot more money at other professions. I did once quit writing.
 

In the late 1990's I was convinced I didn't have the motivation, patience, or talent to be a writer. I had a career and a family and a life path to middle class that was straight as a railroad track. That could be enough. I quit writing for years.
 

Until one day I scribbled down an idea. The idea became a scene. A plot developed and I thought "Oh crap, who the hell am I kidding. I'm a writer." It was a welcome derailment.
 

I write because I can't not and yes, I confess, I want others to read what I've imagined and be entertained by it. Even so, it is difficult to keep at it when the obstacles to success seem so great.
 

For Christmas I received Born Standing Up, an autobiography by Steve Martin. It covers his path to and career in stand-up comedy, a two decades long journey from selling programs in Disneyland to that jumped-the-shark King Tut song. There's a line in the book that seems appropriate to me right now:
 

Through the years, I have learned there is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.

 

2010 is the year of the tiger in the Chinese calendar. This also seems relevant.
 

Year of the Tiger
Photo by Kevin Law

 

In 2010 I will be organized and disciplined, I will meet up with writers and editors and agents, I will write and submit and query, and in the event that a rare stroke of luck appears in order to present an opportunity, I will be ready. I am a writer and I will not quit.
 

Comments

Todd, not only was that the

Todd, not only was that the best blog posting you've ever written, it may have been the best blog I've ever read!

You may have been expressing your own feelings about being a writer, but I think you've also uncovered universal principles essential for any creative person. Thanks for sharing these thoughts with all of us.

You are an inspiration to me with your organization, commitment, networking, connection, and writing, writing, writing. I salute you ... and look forward to toasting your even greater success this year and in the years to come.

Happy New Year!!

Likewise, friend, your

Likewise, friend, your persistence, advice, and practical outlook have been a great inspiration and support to myself. This is your year too!

Todd, Your post today has

Todd,

Your post today has summed up the lessons on writing I have learned in the last year from my husband. You covered them all, the challenges, the commitment, the successes, the rejections, the desire, the drive and the love of writing.

My hat is off to your creative nature and the gift you have chosen to share with the world.

May 2010 bring you a productive and successful year of writing.

Thank you, Linda. Writers

Thank you, Linda. Writers need patience and support and you certainly provide both to Rick. I just hope his cooking has improved since high school. ;-)

You have reached into my

You have reached into my brain, Todd. It sounds more eloquent when it comes from you, though. I hope 2010 brings you the success you've defined for yourself :)

Great minds think alike. ;-)

Great minds think alike. ;-) This is a good chance as well to tell Rick O. above, who is getting into romance writing, to go visit L.A.'s blog!

Here's to finding the spark

Here's to finding the spark of luck for us all in the new year, Todd. It is a long slog to get there and that's why it's good to have friends to share the journey with. I also think this is why when a writer starts getting notoriety and attention they have that dazed and confused look. For so many years the attention and focus when the other way, so when it turns around we aren't used to it.

In that case, here's to all

In that case, here's to all of us being dazed and confused!

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