“You ask whether I should continue to write if no one but myself would ever see my work. There is no reason to believe that anyone will ever see any more of my work…We are likely to give many incorrect explanations for what we do instinctively. It is very easy for me to say that I write poetry in order to formulate my ideas and to relate myself to the world. That is why I think I write it, though it may not be the right reason. That being so, I think that I should continue to write poetry whether or not anybody ever saw it, and certainly I write lots of it that nobody ever sees. We are all busy thinking things that nobody ever knows about.”-–Wallace Stevens in a letter to editor Ronald Lane Latimer, from Letters of Wallace Stevens
We write because it’s what we do. We don’t write because it’s going to be published or win awards or get a million reviews. We write because we’re writers.
“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”—Elizabeth Gilbert
I recently read Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, which was just the book I needed. And I’ve been talking with friends in the arts recently about our fears and frustrations, and how success always seems so much easier for other people to achieve.
Gilbert’s quote above is a nice reminder that you can’t measure success by how many awards you win or how much you make on an advance or how many reviews you get, because no matter how many awards or how much money you get, you’re still not going to feel like a success . The work itself has to be the thing that keeps you moving down the path.
Happy Friday, guys! I’ve had a good dose of creative connectivity this week, and I’m looking forward to even more creative time with my lovely crit group members over the weekend. In the meantime, here’s a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer:
Reading: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Encouraging, open, and conversational book about living as an artist. Definitely what I needed.
Writing: “You can’t sleep through my cross-country playlist,” TJ said. “It’s rhythmically impossible.”
Hoping to finish up with this pass of revision over the weekend; psyched to dive into something new, but I’m going to miss these characters (for the time being, at least).
“…have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”–Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet
The beginning of the month brings a lot of enthusiasm, but sometimes the expectations of NaNo don’t match up with the realities. But the tough days don’t have to get you down! Take a look at this video I made about the NaNo highs and lows:
If you’re tackling NaNo this year, don’t worry about the bad days. Keep going, take breaks as needed, don’t worry about editing and let your creativity fly. You got this!
These days, most authors have to finagle a lot of their own promotion. And unless you have a background in marketing, it can be difficult to figure out what’s worthwhile and who you should connect with and how you should plan for events.