This weekend, I clicked on a trending article on facebook (as I often do) and got caught up for a good fifteen minutes by the content (as I often do). Except this time, instead of learning about Snooki’s fake tan or the existence of a life-sized Barbie doll in Russia (she’s really creepy looking), this link lead me to something that made me feel more inspired than I’ve felt in a really long time.
The moment he began to speak, I was entranced. And it wasn’t just the effect of his beautiful lilting accent or speaking voice (although that definitely helped:). It was because every piece of advice he gave had been gained through years of experience. It was also dispensed with a sense of humor and a lot of sincerity and I couldn’t help but lean forward in my chair, eagerly absorbing the priceless knowledge that Mr. Gaiman had gleaned from his eventful career.
In the closing of the commencement address, Gaiman says the best piece of advice he ever got (but never followed) was from Stephen King who remarked that Neil was doing really great work and that he should try to ‘enjoy it’.
Gaiman explained that he regretted not taking more time to enjoy where he was in the process. When all of his success came, he spent most of his time worrying and pushing himself for the next thing instead of stopping and looking around him and feeling content with where he was and what he’d accomplished.
And it occurred to me that, even if where I am in the process sucks– I can still enjoy it. Because no matter where we are in the process, there are always going to be parts of it that suck. And if we can't learn to enjoy it now, we could very well miss out later.
#1 I write. Therefore I am a writer. Amateur or unpublished or aspiring aside-Writing is what I love and when I do it, everything feels better no matter what’s going on around me. I can enjoy that.
#2 I have a mountain of rejections in my inbox. But I also have a good pile of requests. My full manuscripts are out with four agents right now and even if all of them come back with a rejection, I have those rejections because I’m out there trying– writing new material and querying and keeping at it. And, despite the difficulty, I can enjoy that knowledge.
#3 Blogging and making connections through social networks can take time away from writing (and everything else in your day to day lives). But it can also make you a stronger writer. My blog keeps me on my toes. The writers I’ve met have provided insight and support and some have even helped me better my craft. Yes, it’s easy to get time-sucked into social networking but that’s only because this community is so damn fun! And the time spent getting to know a lot of you has been just as enjoyable as #1, and much more enjoyable than #2:)
So I ask, what is your favorite part of where you are right now – whether it be in life or in writing?
Well, right now I'm in "first draft" land -- which I complain about all the time. I hate first drafts. I'd rather revise, edit, and polish an old manuscript over and over then start from scratch. (Opposite of you, I know.)
But the fact is, I don't know why I'm grumbling so much. It's fun getting to know new characters. I feel satisfied every time I figure out what happens in the next chapter and realize how I'm going to connect the next two plot points. (pantster)
At the very least I should admit that I love to hate my first draft!
What awesome insight...thanks so much for sharing! I'm in kind of a "sucky" place in the process, too, and I'm trying SO hard to keep a positive spin on it. So, I guess my favorite part is that I'm constantly on the lookout for inspiration for a new idea (my well is feeling a bit dry these days). It's really cool, like looking at the world with fresh eyes, sorta.
It's so true, Katie! For every milestone we pass there's always the next one ahead we strive for. Writers definitely need to enjoy where they are - unfortunately that's always the advice writers who "made it" give out. Much harder to follow!
Yay for you!!!! Glad you are in a great place - spiritually and emotionally and writerly now!
It's good to enjoy the moment! Take care
I don't think I could spend so much time writing if I didn't love it - every part of it, well, except the querying part.
My favorite part of where I am in life right now is that both my kids are potty-trained and completely verbal. HALLELUJAH.
Our family (and my writing) is kind of in limbo right now - we know where we want to be (as I do with my writing), but we have to wait in order for that to happen (and with two young kids, I am definitely not able to pursue writing as aggressively as I would like). It's frustrating, but we keep telling ourselves it's an adventure, and to enjoy it NOW instead of missing out on life while we're twiddling our thumbs and waiting for life to begin.
YES! Thank you so much for this, Katie. Sometimes it's hard to remember that being able to do what we love is a huge luxury. Even a few short years ago it would not have even been possible.
thank you for this, katie. it helps. =)
Yes! So many people need to hear this (including myself). The moments are what make these experiences greater. I hear an author once say that if you're crying about the rejection it's a good thing, it means those emotions went into the pages you sent out, therefore a reader will connect. Maybe not that agent, but one will.
Today I'm thankful that even though I have a lot on my plate my thoughts still circle around my story ideas!
Love this post, I will be sharing it with my current class of Walking in This World. We are in the process and learning to enjoy the path as we are stumbling around finding our way to living with as much creativity as we can! This week we create a new vision board to carry us through the rest of the process, and this blog will be a great inspiration to release the outcome, just be in the moment of the process!
Awesome Katie that you've got your manuscript with agents.
I'm trying to enjoy the writing when I can and blogging phase. I realize that my time with my daughter is short--she's ending 9th grade. And if my writing is a little slower so we can have a bit of family time, that's okay. Because I give up quite a bit to blog and read blogs and write.
Embracing the process is great advice. Enjoying it more is definitely an element I need to work on. Think I'm going to start doing that today. Thanks, CC.
This is so true, Katie. Wherever you are in the process, you've made progress. You're learning, you're growing as a writer, you're making connections.
This is also true with parenting, and pretty much everything else in life! Look around and smell the roses, right?
Great post. Thanks for sharing it!
Great post! I'm really feeling convicted lately about not having an attitude of thankfulness. I've been given so much. I think the whole writing business tends to make you focus on what you haven't achieved, instead of being grateful for what you have done.
So I'm going to be thankful, even though I'm editing and that's my least favorite part of writing. :)
All that I am, is now. I'm the happiest and most content than I've ever been. I enjoy every precious second.
I'm in a couple of different places. 1) Doing revisions my agent requested. Which had me a little panicked at first, because I'm always terrified that I'll wind up doing a total hack job and making things worse instead of better. But then I realized how much better the story would be with his suggestions, and I ran with it. So that made me happy... and hopefully it will make him happy, too.
2) I'm in the first draft phase of another novel. And no matter what, I'm finding I still have those moments where I think my writing sucks, I suck, and everything about the story sucks. But then I write a scene that develops the relationship between the mc's, and I'm in love again.
Great post, Katie. You always have the right attitude.
Great attitude, Katie!
Even though writing a first draft is not my favorite thing to do, I am going to enjoy the one I am writing now as it will be the third and final in my series. And I'm enjoying the success my other books are experiencing, which is far more than I ever expected.
that man is made of magic, i swear. he can not be a mere mortal...
anyway, right now, i'm starting my new business, and working on covers. and i love it. and it's frustrating when my work doesn't wow an author or an editor, and when they have changes they want or when i can't get what's in my head onto the page... but... you know, i like writing- heck, i love writing... but i NEED to make visual art. and getting paid for it? and getting it on someone's cover? i NEVER thought that was even possible. i NEVER thought i'd be paid to do anything more than washing dishes or checking out groceries, let alone something with art. so, i guess, i'm living my dreams, now. even though it's just in a small part, and i haven't gotten many jobs yet. and i should remember to be grateful and happy. because i have every reason to be. :) thanks for the reminder katie! (and neil)
What an inspiring point to make! I always forget to just stop and enjoy where I am, personally and professionally. I need to focus on that more. I'm off to enjoy his speech!
Yay for you. And thank you for the inspiration. I'm glad we have choices. Whatever works. =)
Thanks for this post, Katie! We should enjoy this, and I'd forgotten.
My favorite part of being an aspiring is that everything is under my control and nothing is pushing me except myself. I have no deadlines except those that I make for myself and I have no pressure (except that which I put on myself.) I can take days or weeks off if my kids get ill and not worry about it (except I miss writing.) The rejection is hard, but I know getting published will push me into areas outside my comfort zone.
Hey! Super congrats to you on the four fulls!!! Everything crossed over here for you on those! As for following that advice, I think it's hard when you're ambitious to stop and smell the roses. But it is good advice. As for me, I don't know where I'd be without my support network here. You guys are the BEST! :o) <3
Oh what a great post, and so true! I am in the process of editing my current WIP to prepare it for submission, and the thing I love most about it is that I am excited to complete edits (many many moons from now) so I can get it out in the world. Because this is a story I want to share, and I'm eager to get it going! Good post.
Nice post, and love Neil Gaiman. The first book I read by hin was Neverwhere. I haven't seen the London Underground network, but it made me want to.
Live in the moment, with an eye to the future. (Sounds good, but hard to do.)
'by him', I meant. . .
This is a perfectly times post for me. I happened to mention my bit of panic from last week and my muse's slap back on course. But this post is soooo on point. Finding joy in the place I am at is a good thing.
Now if I can just imagine what it's like to be able to name-drop Stephen King as an advisor. Wow.
What a great post! It is way too easy to forget about the "enjoy" part. So right now, I'm enjoying just creating a story from scratch. I love the creative process.
And I won't even think about the hard parts right now. :)
This really hit home today. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy.
I love Neil Gaiman. Now more than ever.
I used to really enjoy his Sandman comics and American Gods was a good novel, a bit like Clive Barker but not as pretentious.
great advice for anyone out there! Enjoy life!
I try to do this too and often fail. Thank you for the reminder!
My favorite part of right now is this nice balance of feeling challenged and motivated with my writing, but not yet having a deadline. I make deadlines for myself all the time, but I don't think they hold the same pressure as a *real* deadline. Being unpublished is actually a pretty fun place to be. :)
What a great post, Katie, because I so need this right now! I'm angsting big-time about my big novel, so perhaps I need to change my mental outlook!
My favorite part is letting stories that have been memorized backwards and forwards in my head for years just naturally flow out, and discovering surprise plot twists and turns along the way. I'd never hack it as someone who exactly plots out a book for every last page and has everything happen in exactly a certain order according to a certain timeline.
As a historical writer, I also love doing historical research. And since I do 20th century historical, it's also fun to listen to the soundtracks of my eras as I'm writing.
I loved Gaiman's speech. So inspiring!
My favorite part of where I am right:
1) I have two requests. Waiting on line edits from a couple of people to polish and send.
2) I am right at the very end of my latest novel. I have about 3 scenes left to write. That's it. Such a good feeling. I wish I had nothing else to do, so I could just FINISH!
I like fleshing out the first draft and adding new scenes/characters to it to complete the story. I always end up getting surprised by the characters as a result, because they often do or say things that I wasn't expecting.
This is such a great post. It is important to try to enjoy where we are and what we're doing. Right now, I really enjoy that I can write what I want, even if it won't be published.
I think what I enjoy the most about where I am right now is that it takes very little to get me excited (writing-wise...get your mind out of the gutter!) The acceptance of a short story or even a helpful rejection letter, gets me going! I don't imagine (or hope) that it doesn't last long. :)
"When all of his success came, he spent most of his time worrying and pushing himself for the next thing instead of stopping and looking around him and feeling content with where he was and what he’d accomplished."
I think we all suffer from this at times. I hope to enjoy some part of the journey after I finish this deadline tomorrow. After that, things are going to change. I'm looking forward to enjoying the journey more.
I agree with #3 completely.
Blogging has been great for me because there's no other writing outlet in which the feedback comes so fast and furious.
You know pretty quickly if what you wrote connected.
Its made me 10x the writer I was before...
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