On Putting Things in Perspective

Sometimes it’s really easy for me to get discouraged.

What am I doing with my life? I ask myself.

[What are you doing with your life? –ed.]

What am I doing with my life?  What are you doing with your life?

[Editing yours. –ed.]

Oh.  Well, what I’m doing with my life is writing.

[And? –ed.]

And that’s pretty much it.  Of course, under WRITING falls all other sorts of activities that aren’t writing per se, but are integral to the life: revising writing; applying for fellowships, jobs, contests; submitting poems and stories to journals, and submitting plays to theaters; and reading.

[Reading? –ed.]

Yes, reading.  It’s a necessary and unavoidable part of writing (though since reading often inspires the desire to write – in addition to the more plebian motivators of fame and fortune – why you might want to avoid reading is beyond me).

But the problem with being a writer, for me, is that I’m only a writer as long as I’m writing.

And I’m only a successful writer as long as I’m getting things published or receiving some other recognition that my writing is or has been or will be good.

[Clearly, such “recognitions” can’t happen every day. –ed.]

Sadly true.  And the sad(der) truth is that even though I may have had a poem accepted yesterday, as soon as it’s today that acceptance is in the past and I need another hit.

[So writing is a drug? –ed.]

Yes.  Which is one reason that I’ve feared it taking over my life.  But today is about reclaiming my life from the darker side of writing.  Here, today, right now, for the bolstering of my ego, I’m going to record what I’ve done, writing-wise, so far this year.

I have had poems accepted to Blackbird, Cerise Press, Broome Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Strange Horizons.

I have had stories accepted to Aoife’s Kiss and Cheek Teeth.

In accordance with my year-long projects to write a story and a poem a week I have written nine poems and nine stories (though only two have approached or broken the 1000-word barrier).

I have written one commissioned review.

I have been commissioned to write seven blog posts for Inprint.

I need to remind myself of these things occasionally.  Not only to get my mind off of those agents who have my novel and could get back to me any day regarding an offer (or not) of representation.  Not only to free myself from the worry about what I’ll be doing next year if no opportunities for teaching or fellowshipping come to fruition.

I need to remind myself that I’ve accomplished things because, if I don’t, I’ll feel like I haven’t done enough.  True, I feel that way anyway, but at least these achievements sandbag the edges of self-doubt.  And I need to keep the flood at bay if I’m to keep writing.

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2 Responses to On Putting Things in Perspective

  1. Sounds (reads) to me like you’ve had a very successful year thus far; keep up the good work!

  2. Andrew says:

    I definitely have, and in part that’s due to the fiction-writing drive inspired by Write 1 Sub 1. Thanks for that, and thanks for the encouragement!

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