Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Pity Party

While I typically keep a pretty steady pace as I climb towards my goals, I do take a break for the occasional pity party.  On a day when nothing seems to be going right, I easily slip into despairing that I will never realize my dream of success as an author.  Most likely this vision of authorhood is very much like the idealized image of perfection that I imposed on all my high school crushes.  Only now, instead of mewling over the cute boy who never notices me, my inner teenager has found something new to whine about.  If only a few Newbery Awards would come my way, followed by a movie deal, my life would be perfect.  If only I really could focus the bulk of my energies on my writing I would never have another bad day.

As I wallow in the awful unfairness of it all a tiny voice feeds me platitudes:  life is a journey, not a destination; it's always darkest before the dawn; plenty of famous authors were long dead before their work was embraced  by the world.  This brings on another wave of pity, which is usually when my inner drill sergeant takes charge.  What are you sniveling about, you big baby?  Are you a sissy or a writer? I CAN'T HEAR YOU! You want to waste your time complaining and feeling sorry for yourself, or do you want to get on with your life?  WRITE, DAMMIT, WRITE!

And I start to write.  I remember how good it feels to glide my pen over paper, and to surprise myself with the flow of ideas I didn't know were buried there in my own mind.  I scribble my problems away, transforming them into raw material that will become plots and characters.  In my mind I start back up the mountain, which still seems impossibly high, and as I walk I close my eyes and savor the wind on my face.

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