The ink bottle is half full
November 15, 2011 § 1 Comment
It’s the holiday season and whatnot, a time of year that lends itself to thinking of life’s blessings, family, and obscene amounts of delicious food. Over the past weekend my wife and I had two dozen friends over to our little house to celebrate what we have dubbed “Fakesgiving.” Every year all our friends go home to family for the real holiday and we wanted an opportunity to celebrate with all of them, even if it wasn’t on the ‘real’ day (and let’s be honest, who would object to turkey and mashed potatoes twice in November instead of once).
I also reached (or at least half-reached) two significant writing milestones this weekend. For the past several months I’d been eagerly awaiting Friday, November 11 as the day that my first short story would be released. Unfortunately, Friday came and went, then Saturday did the same and still my short story hasn’t been made available to order online and there’s been nary a peep out of the publishing house or staff. Naturally my mind has run off in all manner of depressing and borderline psychotic tangents, (but none of these fears are nearly as bad as the cover art panic from last week). In all likelihood, the magazine, being run by volunteers, is just running a little behind and they haven’t had the time to get the information up on the website yet, but after looking forward to it for three months, I’ve been a little down in the dumps about it.
The second authorial milestone I’ve reached is completing my first novel. In actuality it’s not really “completed,” but it has a beginning and an end and after five drafts I have arrived at a point where I feel comfortable sending it off to beta readers, and inevitably there will be still more changes to make after they’re done with it, but still, to have a completed manuscript that other people (just my wife so far) are reading is a big step. That said, anyone who has ever written anything and then allowed anyone to read can relate to the apprehension I’m feeling right now. I’d imagine this is how parents feel the first time they let another person hold their firstborn child.
So from a writing perspective, the weekend was something of a mixed bag, but juxtaposed with a day about being thankful, I came to a startling realization: I tend to be rather ungrateful in my writing pursuits.
I am incredibly blessed to live in a country and time where I have the means to tell stories and even the dream of doing it for a living. I am blessed to have a wife who not only allows me to spend large amounts of time in my own little world, pounding away at the keyboard, but encourages me to continue doing it. I am blessed to have friends and family who are excited to take my novel-baby into their busy lives, read it, and provide me with encouragement and constructive criticism (hopefully in equal parts).
It’s easy to look at writing and only see how much farther there is to climb, rather than the heights that I’ve already scaled, and easy to get wrapped up in anxiety about whether this manuscript will find an agent, and what I will do if everybody hates it, but what I need to remember is that I love to tell stories and I’m incredibly blessed to be at a place in life where I can do that, and even occasionally get paid to do it.
And now, in accordance with Murphy’s Law, my short story will be published.