I recently spoke to several friends about what we are getting out of our writing. It’s easy to look back on our blogs, or our unpublished writings, and wonder is it worth it?
Especially when it’s the week the mortgage arrives in the mailbox. Writing is work, so why do we do it? And are all the hours at the keyboard getting me any where?
We are all eager to find a quick route to success. You can tell this by all the schemes, nonfiction books, and online courses to show you how you can become successful.
One author who seems to have succeeded quickly was recently written about in the paper. (Yes, I still read the local paper.) Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, whose debut novel, The Nest, was purchased for what the paper called seven figures. It came out on March 22, after two years of working with the publisher. Already, there are talks of it becoming a movie.
Did you notice it was her first novel? Don’t you wish you could have success so quickly?
But it wasn’t quick. She had been writing advertising copies for twenty years and has non-fiction articles published in The New York Times. Six years ago she decided to make writing fiction a priority.
And for you who think you are too old to start. She is 55. (Just happens to be my age also.)
For most writers, seeing any success takes time. You have to learn the craft and meet people. And then it will depend on your definition of success. Is it a dollar amount, being able to maintain a certain size and type of house, or reaching people?
Jesus has a parable about this, The Rich Young Farmer (Luke 12: 16-21). I don’t think it was ever on the NY Times Best Sellers List. He was so rich he wanted to build extra barns to keep all his crops. But God was going to call him later that day for a different accounting.
Does that change your view of success? Our pastor this week gave an illustration using an extension cord to represent eternity and the plug was our lifespan. We worry so much about the plug, the now, we don’t see the much larger picture.
Maybe for us it’s too soon to quit. Maybe you’re still just getting started. Even if, like Ms Sweeney, it’s been twenty years.
(Here is a good interview with Ms Sweeney. It’s amazing how close she was to not writing her big seller.)
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