Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IWSG: As The World Turns

Happy first Wednesday of the month, world! That means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a fabu resource that I've been remiss in joining, lately. Sorry. :(

News alert, guys: The world goes on.

Shocking, I know.

But I spend far too much time worrying about what everyone else is doing, and not focusing on myself. [And I just had a Holy Crap Moment because that is EXACTLY what my teachers used to put on my report cards when I was in elementary school. Apparently, I haven't grown up...]

This started earlier in the week when a friend who has never expressed an interest in writing informed me that she had an idea for a 3-book children's self-help series. When we got off the phone on Monday, her plan was to finish writing the first book, outline the other two, and get her query letter done... all by the weekend. If an agent isn't interested, that's okay. She'll print her own copies and distribute to major opinion leaders she thinks will be interested. Have I mentioned that she's never written anything before in her life?

I wasted SO MUCH MENTAL ENERGY thinking about the audacity of the entire situation. Who is this person to think they can just bang out a story and a query letter in 7 days?

Then it hit me: instead of stewing, I should be writing. Instead of being mad at her for feeling like she isn't respecting the process, I should acknowledge it for what it is--her dream and not mine. My path is different, and is paved with years of experience, research, reading, and the loveliest part of it all, the writing. I've put in my own work to reach my own dream and I'm grateful it's taken more than a week.

So I am trying to accept things that are out of my control. I am focusing on my own dreams. I am accepting that the world goes on. Authors sign with agents every day. Books are sold to publishers every day. Sitting around, fretting, stewing, and feeling the ugly fingers of bitterness and jealousy tugging at my soul is NOT the solution.

The world goes on.
Sorry if I don't notice it, though. I'm busy writing.


  1. Woohoo!!! Sounds like you are exactly where you should be! Good job!

  2. It's funny (or maybe not) how many people consider books as a get-rich-quick scheme. A few years ago my then-landlord was going through a divorce and ended up having to sell the house (we got kicked out) to pay his bills. He knew I had a book coming out and he asked me for advice because he was thinking of writing a self-help book about his experience with the divorce laws, etc. I skipped over my thoughts that this guy couldn't produce a well-written email, nevermind a whole book, and told him that the book I had coming out was going to be four years between when we'd sold it and when it hit store shelves, and that was average for non-fiction. It was six months between the verbal offer from the publisher and actually receiving our first advance cheque. He seemed shocked. (To be fair, I hadn't realized it would take that long, either.)

    It's so hard not to look at what other people are doing. I do it myself, compare my position to that of other writers. Feel a tiny bit of envy when a new writer signs with an agent, or sells a book, or their debut comes out. And also feel mildly offended when someone talks about writing in a way that seems to disrespect the effort I've put into it myself (either a situation like you shared, or by downplaying how much time and work I've invested). I admire you for recognizing that you're doing that and making the decision to focus on yourself, but also for acknowledging that it isn't that easy to do (and hopefully cutting yourself some slack).

  3. We waste our energy worrying about others. Burns enough just worrying about ourselves!
    Focus on your path - that's the one that matters.
    And don't give up hope.

  4. This is a wonderful post and something I needed to read right now. I've been feeling irrational lately, my intolerance for certain writing attitudes overcoming my better self. It bugs me badly, not really in a jealous or stewing way, but that I feel offended, deeply and irrationally offended. I want to grab random people and shake them and scream "DO YOU THINK THIS IS EASY?!?"

    But I really need to take a breath and walk away because they'll learn on their own, one way or another. Wasting energy on it doesn't help either of us.

  5. I think a lot of people view writing that way, and it can be frustrating. But you're right, just let it go. You can only focus on you. I was in a similar spot a few years ago, had to let it go.

  6. Awesome insights! I think I would've wasted a little energy stewing about that one, too, but you're absolutely right. It's better to just write!

  7. Okay, I totally get why that would be annoying. It's like those people who go to an art museum and look at a painting and say, "I could do that", like it takes absolutely no skill at all.

    But I agree with the other comments that we can't worry about what anyone else is doing. Hard as it seems, it takes time and precious energy away from our work and we need all we can get!

  8. ugh, i hear that. Which is why sometimes i really hate the internet, for rubbing in my face what everyone else is doing. I wish it was easier to step away


I love getting comments. They're as much fun as getting real snail mail. So please, chime in and tell me what you think!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...