Wright’s Writing Corner — Relentless Cheer

New post up over at the Writing Corner:



One of the side effects of being a published writer is that one has achieved something others desire. People come up and express envy that I have reached the Horeb Heights of Authordom, while they are still farther down the slope, perhaps slogging through the marshes of revisions, or mired in the Swamps of Publishing Uncertainty. I laugh and express the desire that they will soon join me. Usually, they are satisfied.
Occasionally, however, the person merely expresses more envy. Then, I pull out the big guns. I explain how I came to be where I am. I tell them about the 17 years it took from the time I began my book until it came out; about the eight years I waited, once I had finished it; about going to conventions, year after year after year, and having to face, bookless, friends whose novels had already been published. That kind of thing.

About this time, most people realize that I did not get up to the published heights by catapult. Nor did I win some kind of get-published-quick lottery. Usually, that is sufficient to assure them that all is still right with the world.

Once in a while, however, this is not enough. The person’s envy is palpable. Perhaps, they say they have been trying to get published for even longer. At this point, I try to say something helpful or encouraging. Probably, I merely say something dumb. If they seem receptive, I say something about God.

But, sometimes, I wish I could say to them was I am really thinking. If I could, it would go something like this:

“Are you relentless?

Do you live, move, and breathe writing? Do you think about it during the day, while traveling, at night, at the movies, in the shower, while dropping two hundred feet in free fall at the amusement park? (Okay, maybe there you can have a brief respite, but get right back on it at the bottom!) Do you study how to put stories together? Do you analyze and take apart everything you read or watch?

Isaac Asimov recalled the last time he truly enjoyed a book. After that, no matter how much he liked it, some part of his mind was analyzing what he read, critiquing it. That does not happen to everyone, but it might.

Are you willing to risk it?