Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Keep on Swimming

Read this the other day by Veronica Rossi: -- about 'keeping your eyes on your own work.'

Great advice that. It is so incredibly hard some days when you are making your living creatively to keep your eyes on your own work. I think so many of us have had those moments where we are certain that all the good fortune is happening to everyone but us. And the irony is that for every moment I've felt like that, someone else is out there thinking that my own career seems ideal.

The truth is, if you're going to do art, you're in it for the long haul. There will be a few elite souls who hit it big and stay there. But the rest of us, well, we have to keep at it. We have to want it--really want it, all-consuming fire in the belly.

 I just heard Diana Nyad interviewed on NPR and essentially what she said about all those attempts to swim from Cuba to Key West was that each time she stood on the shore ready to begin, she thought about many, many things, but what kept her going most of all was not the fear of sharks or jelly fish or getting hurt but the fear of failure. I think she is absolutely right.

 If one book-- often for reasons that have little to do with me-- has fewer readers or gets less promotional push or whatever, then I have to use that 'failure' to do the one thing I can control: Write another book and work to make it better than the last one. I can keep myself out there and keep swimming, or in this case, writing. Not to get all "So we beat on, boats against the current" Gatsby on you, but I think it's really true.

There is so much I can't control: I can't control book covers or reviews or where a book is sold or how many are stocked or placed on a shelf. I can't control how it is marketed, except for when I am the one doing the marketing, which often I am. When book 2 of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series was somehow placed in historical fiction (which it is absolutely not) while book 1 remained in paranormal, I couldn't even control that, as much as I tried.

So you keep on swimming. You keep your eyes on the lights of the shore. You convince yourself that you will get there. Because NOT getting there is unacceptable. Because you have a gift and it would be a shame to waste it. Because you want it that badly.

Diana Nyad, on her fifth attempt, swam from Cuba to Key West. She was 64 years old. Yes you read that correctly. Talk about age being just a number!

The least we writers can do, is write a bunch more books, each one better than the last.

We won't even have to avoid the jellyfish.

On April 21, 2015, FINDING PARIS arrives from Balzer and Bray/Harper Collins.
In Spring, 2016, IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THIS arrives from Soho Press.

1 comment:

Hannah J said...

Somehow I managed to miss this post, so a bit of a belated comment, but I did want to let you know I loved it. Exactly the pep talk I needed. I've even screenshotted for times of future laziness. Thank you! (And never feel bad about quoting Gatsby. Gatsby suits any occasion.)