I've done a lot of reading this week. With my back out and a lovely case of whatever nasty sinus thing is going around out here in the Midwest, I've had some extra time.
I've been reading about writing and all the different aspects of writing. We writers it seems have a lot to say about writing and publishing and how and why we do what we do.
We writers are pretty opinionated too. I know, shocking.
What's out there is encouraging, frightening, humbling, discouraging, empowering, frustrating and overwhelming among other things.
It seems "success" is a strange combination of relentlessness, determination, skill, blind luck and networking. Maybe there is a little magic in there too.
Success in itself is a strange thing to define. I'm not even certain exactly how I would define it for myself. I do know that it's definition is relative. I know it is not static.
I've debated long and hard about "putting my pen down" these last few weeks. It's pretty easy when you're not feeling 100% healthy and living here in the dark of Midwestern winter to get sucked into the trap of the voice in your mind. It's easy to listen to the track that says but I've been writing since high school and I still have nothing to show for it.
Reality is, I do have things to show for it, even if no one else can see them. Like any writer, I've improved over the years from simply keeping at it, word after word. I've taken on challenges and contests, maybe never been a "big" winner, but most of those, I finished. For me, that's an accomplishment. It's a prize in itself. I'm known for being the queen of unfinished beginnings.
I might not have a physical book on a shelf in a store I could walk into and have that writers dream moment of disbelief at seeing your own hard work externally validated. I don't have any books ready to go for your e-reader either.
I do have well over a 1000 blog posts on various blogs from the last decade. I do have 2 novels in various stages of rewrite and edit. I do have the beginnings of a 3rd novel. And I no longer hold the fear that I can't write something that big or finish it. I do know that one of these days, hopefully sooner than later, I'll have one of these three done. I've learned which parts of the writing process I love and which parts I just have to buck up and do. I'm growing that thick skin to value critique for what it is and the brains to know what it isn't.
I know that writing is what I do, for lots of reasons. It's a piece of who I am. It's something I will probably always do, whether it's on a blog, a novel for the world to see or ball point pen musings in some old spiral bound dollar store notebook.