Why I Try Not To Take My Writing Too Seriously

1151807_to_doThere is SO much that goes into trying to make a career as an author. In my case,  which I doubt is unique, there’s:

  • Blogging and promoting my blog
  • Deciding whether I want to seek an agent or continue to self-publish
  • I think I want to find an agent, so I have to make time to do that
  • Writing and editing, of course
  • Social media and getting my work out there (see “promoting” above, which I’m doing an awful job at currently)
  • Balancing getting older projects in shape (I want to rerelease my trilogy with superior and tighter second editions) vs starting new ones
  • Making sure I keep enough time for the more important stuff

It easily becomes overwhelming and exhausting and just plain daunting, seemingly impossible, when I take it and myself too seriously.

That’s why I try not to. I love Chesterton’s claim that, “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” I try to remember that, because anyone who wants to be a writer and especially anyone who dreams of “making it” as a writer will have, well, a LOT of adventures.

I’m sure there are people who will disagree, but for me, being an author isn’t about hitting the milestones and “succeeding,” though of course that would be nice. To be able to support myself on sales of my fiction is my dream career.

Writing should be more about the intangibles than sales numbers and agents. For me, it’s about discovering who I am and who I’d like to be. It’s about the thrill of figuring out where that character’s journey is taking him, or how she’s going to overcome those odds.

It’s about developing as a person and hopefully improving things somehow in the real world or helping someone have a better day, in the meantime, through my day-job experiences.

It’s about visiting places I could never go, finding resolve to face my real-world problems, and remembering that I need to take everything with a sense of humor and a dash of humility. It’s about the connections I’ve made with fellow writers. It’s about letting my characters challenge and inspire me.

It’s about remembering, as I’ve said before, that life happens in the between-place, not at any destination.

When I focus on where I want to be, I personally don’t feel excited or upbeat or optimistic. I don’t get inspired. Maybe some people do, and that’s amazing. I wish I could be like that, but I’m not built that way. I tend to feel beat down by considering how far I am from where I want to be.

I feel better and work more when I focus on being in the moment, and learning from it, and doing something with it that has the potential to spark interior growth.

So I’m trying to do that more. I think we authors all know and believe that “making it” isn’t the most important thing we’ll do in life or the definition of a successful life. So what reason is there to take writing all that seriously? There isn’t.