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Enjoy The Journey October 20, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Poetry, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

Writers when attached to the goal of publication 
May focus more and more on that elusive destination
Writing can become a chore ~ no longer just fab fun
If all that drives us on is to be The Chosen One

After submitting each partial, our writing often stalls
Focused as we are on fielding e-mails and phone calls
Eagerly waiting to hear whether our work made the cut
Or whether we’ll be told “We’re very sorry but . . . ”

Frustrated, we search for an agent to market our book
Someone who’ll get publishers to take a good look 
Finding the right agent means potential publication
Even if our story requires more word masturbation

Success!  At last!  Now we stare at our Amazon rating
Hoping sales increase and our ranking keeps inflating
We monitor comments to see what each reader thinks
Compliments make us smile . . . but criticism stinks!

We obsess over each rating less than a perfect “5”
We worry that our sales will take a fast nose dive
When our Amazon ranking drops from high to low
Affected writers cry out,  “Where’d all my fans go?”

Ratings and rankings are fickle, and tricky, you see
In writing, like life, it pays to enjoy the journey
Sure, recognition is nice ~ financial rewards too
But best of all is knowing, this is what we’re born to do

Happiness is not waiting for us at the end of the road . . . it’s found here and now, by enjoying each step along the way! 

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Cooks Cook.  Dancers Dance.  Writers Write. * Publication Odds * Life . . . A Journey, Not A DestinationThe Thrill of Victory & The Agony of Defeat * Stop Mocking Me! * Stay Focused on the Journey * Believe Me, You’ll Like This Journey (Love Out Loud) 

* * * * *

Recent releases by blogging buddies:  Dancing in Heaven (Christine M. Grote) * Murder in a Teacup (Nancy Curteman) * Witchcanery (Sandra Bell Kirchman) * Show Me How!  (Vivian Kirkfield) *The Dragon Slayer’s Choice (Tahlia Newland)


1. CMSmith - October 20, 2011

Thanks so much for the link, Nancy. And I’m trying to keep the philosophy of your post. I feel like I got Annie’s story out there. That’s what I set out to do. If someone wants to read it, they can.

I know I need to at least let people know it is available, but otherwise, I don’t expect to do a lot of marketing.

nrhatch - October 20, 2011

That’s it! You wrote Annie’s story. Now, it’s “out there” and whatever will be, will be. Let people know it’s available and where they can get a copy. Set up local book signings at events, libraries, and bookstores (if you like to talk one or one with your audience).

If writers market their work without obsessing over the “numbers game” or dwelling on individual comments, they’ll keep the joy of writing intact. 😀

I love the way Vivian markets her book, Show Me How! ~ she shares recipes, crafts, and story ideas from it. She goes to pre-schools and kindergartens and festivals to share her love of learning with kids. Her book is an extension of what she’s learned from teaching . . . so her marketing has a wonderful down-to-earth quality about it.

2. totsymae1011 - October 20, 2011

Right now, I am just having fun but in all seriousness, writing is a business. One should think of it in terms of how a prospective student may think of h/herself as becoming a doctor or lawyer. All are journeys and the person has to work hard toward either aspiration. It may very well be the difference between those who make it and those who don’t.

nrhatch - October 20, 2011

As a law student, I loved the journey of learning the law. I worked hard WHILE enjoying the journey. Same thing when practicing law ~ I enjoyed planning each case’s defensive strategy. When I STOPPED enjoying the journey, I STOPPED practicing law. 😀

Writing is a business and a profession. If we are enjoying ourselves, it’s worth all the effort it takes to hone our craft. If we start obsessing about the “numbers game” . . . we lose the joy.

I am interested about what you mean by “those who make it and those who don’t.” I assume that you are referring to some external measure of success ~ # of books sold, or # of dollars received, or # of fans, etc.

In my view, it’s a mistake to set some arbitrary destination and say that if we reach IT then we’re a SUCCESS! Because the EGO is never satisfied. As soon as one arbitrary destination is reached, it creates another and another and another.

As a result, instead of enjoying the PROCESS and the JOURNEY, we are forever chasing some pre-conceived notion of what it means to be a SUCCESS.

From my perspective, life is far simpler than that. if we are enjoying life, WE WIN! No matter what happens, we win! 😀

3. Jackie Paulson Author - October 20, 2011

I love your line “writing is what we are born to do.” I believe we all have a story to share. I agree that the money is not a big deal and that the love of writing brings happiness with great rewards even without the money. If we just write and do it for love, the rewards follow suit. Thank you for your comments on my blog as you are an inspiration to me since we met on the wordpress blogging challenge. Keep up the great work 🙂

nrhatch - October 20, 2011

Ah, we all have a story to tell, but we are not all writers.

Some people would rather do anything BUT sit at a computer to write. I’d rather sit at a keyboard to write than do almost anything else . . . except eating. 😉

Do what you love and the money will follow . . . and, if it doesn’t, you’ll be too in love with life to notice.

Thanks, Jackie. Write on!

4. suzicate - October 20, 2011

Such is the writer’s life…none of us want to lose the joy.

nrhatch - October 20, 2011

From Stay Focused on the Journey:

When we choose to postpone happiness until we fulfill our dreams for the future, we do so at our peril. The future we envision may never arrive, and if it does arrive, it may not provide the happiness we imagined:

* In our rush to reach the desired destination, we may miss interesting and intriguing detours along the way.

* In our haste, we may be tempted to take shortcuts at variance with our values. Doing so erodes our sense of self-worth.

* After years of postponing happiness, we may get hit by a bus, or have a sudden heart attack, before enjoying the fruits of our sacrifice.

* We may attain the sought after prize, and find it nothing more than an empty promise of happiness which crumbles to dust before adding any measurable satisfaction to our lives.

* We may arrive at the final destination and find that new desires have arisen, detracting from our enjoyment of the goal we struggled to reach.

If we are enjoying the journey, we win. If we focus solely on reaching an elusive destination, without enjoying the process required to get there, we are apt to lose . . . no matter how we choose to measure “success.”

5. Andra Watkins - October 20, 2011

Nothing makes me happier than letting words flow through my fingers from my soul.

Thank you for this post, Nancy.

nrhatch - October 20, 2011

Same here, Andra. It’s such a delight when ideas blossom and flow from within to without.

And we lose inherent joy in the creative process if we are always chasing some pre-determined external measure of “success.”

Just write . . . and the path will appear. 😀

6. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - October 20, 2011

I don’t consider myself a writer, but this is good advice for anyone: Ratings and rankings are fickle, and tricky…

nrhatch - October 20, 2011

Thanks, Greg. I agree. As we move through life (from cradle to grave), it pays to enjoy the journey. 😀

7. viviankirkfield - October 20, 2011

I’m so honored to be mentioned by you, Nancy. What lovely words…and they echo what I try to do.
Would I like to sell more books? Of course I would! And I hope that all the volunteer work with kids and parents will result in that happening, cause parents don’t seem to purchase it on Amazon or my website all that much. Which always sets me wondering and questioning the book…until another great review comes along and then I realize it is probably resistance on the part of parents who are already overwhelmed and can’t imagine how they would find even 15 minutes a day to read a story and do a craft.
But, I enjoy being with the children so much, reading and crafting. Their positive responses make it all worthwhile. I also love sharing my passion with parent and teacher groups to help them build literacy, one picture book at a time..

nrhatch - October 20, 2011

I love the “organic” nature of your marketing . . . you add value to the world by sharing your thoughts and ideas.

Parents are stretched thin as they focus on the “musts” of feeding, clothing, and keeping their kids clean. Of course, aunts and uncles and grandparents would benefit from your ideas too!

Keep sharing your love of learning with wee ones, Vivian.

8. Linda - October 20, 2011

Very interesting post and comments also. I have a little story that I want to write but alas I am not a writer by any means. I love my little story though and just keep waiting for it to pop into my head the right way.

nrhatch - October 20, 2011

My advice . . . write down the story, as is. Read it aloud to catch any snaggly bits. Then share it with your grandkids and see their reaction to it.

That’s the nice thing about writing . . . we can keep revising our words until we have exactly the story we want to share.

9. sufilight - October 20, 2011

Thank you for this Nancy! I am about to publish my compilation of affirmative prayers and short spiritual musings and its been fun putting the book together and having it edited. The editing process has been a learning experience for me as well. It’s interesting to see how a certain sentence sounds better with grammatical changes. Now once it’s out there, I want to still enjoy the journey and not get caught up with ego, (the fears, expecations,etc.) so appreciate your post and the wise comments you have made. 😉

nrhatch - October 20, 2011

Excellent! If we avoid attachment to expectations, we are able to enjoy the journey wherever it leads.

Make sure to let us know when it’s out and about. 😀

10. l0ve0utl0ud - October 20, 2011

I agree completely! Only yesterday I wrote a post about a similar topic. I realised that my dream of becoming a writer was so focused on arriving at the destination, that it was filling me with anxiety and fear. However, if I focus about my love for writing, story-telling and creation, these negative feelings disappear.

nrhatch - October 20, 2011

That’s the reason I wrote this ditty.

There is NOTHING WRONG with wanting to become a published author . . . unless the desire to be read fills us with so much fear, anxiety, and dread that we STOP writing.

When we focus on our love our words, instead of measuring our success by external measures, we are far more effective.

nrhatch - October 20, 2011

Your post is EXCELLENT! I added a link. Thanks.

Write on!

11. jannatwrites - October 21, 2011

The journey is often more fun than the destination anyway. I know I enjoy writing much more than querying agents 🙂

nrhatch - October 21, 2011

I’ve known a few writers who raced through the writing process to get their book on the shelves . . . where it sat . . . full of typos.

I’ve known others who wrote a good story, refined their work, but set their expectations too high (we can’t ALL be the next J.K.Rowling) . . . and when their book didn’t fly off the shelves, they became disillusioned and depressed.

“Success” based on externals often disappoints ~ “success” based on inner satisfaction with how we spend our “free” time rarely does. 😉

Write on!

12. Sandra Bell Kirchman - October 21, 2011

Thanks for the mention, Nancy. I had a blast when I originally wrote Witchcanery…loved every minute of it. It happened during NanoWriMo of 2002. It took another five years to get it refined, artist’s cover, formatted and published.

Now, it’s out there for the first time as an e-book and that was exciting too.

But I have fallen into the trap of superficial goals…not necessarily ones that will make me happy but ones that will “show others” that I am too worth something. As you can imagine, I have not done much novel writing since. Well, I have, but I haven’t really finished a novel.

Thank you for your words on this “affliction.” It is ingrained in me for some reason and takes a lot of positive action and repeating, “Does this make me happy?” to keep balanced. When you write a post like this, alarm bells go off and I police my energy once again. Please keep it up. It’s making a difference.

nrhatch - October 21, 2011

As long as we are trying to prove something to “them” . . . we are subject to the ego’s desire for MORE recognition, MORE applause, MORE acclaim.

When we want to prove something ot ourselves . . . we smile in satisfaction at a job well done.

Aah . . . that’s better.

There is nothing wrong with wanting people to read our words . . . especially if we think that THEY will enjoy them. 😀

13. LittleMissVix - October 21, 2011

Thanks, I needed this today as I anxiously wait to hear from agents!

nrhatch - October 21, 2011

Don’t stress or obsess and you’ll be fine. Keep enjoying the process of writing . . . keep bringing yourself back to the task.

Good luck!

14. ElizOF - October 22, 2011

I concur… It is best to enjoy the journey.

nrhatch - October 22, 2011

It’s great to have a destination to move toward . . . as long as we don’t miss all the lovely detours along the way. 😀

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