Thursday, December 6, 2012

Investments



I’ve been reading this book, How Will You Measure Your Life?  by Clayton M Christensen.  It’s a fabulous little book so far and I highly recommend it to anyone.  (Kindle version is only 3.79 last time I checked) He teaches at Harvard business school so this book does have to do with business but mostly the book is about, you guessed it, life.  In one of the chapters he discusses investing in your future.   He says you don’t plant a sapling when you need shade, you plant it several years before you need the shade.  He quotes some studies that show how talking to your child the first two or so years of their life will do more to determine that child’s intelligence, schooling, career, and success than the parent’s education or situation in life.   He says that to do the best for your child you have to invest in that child before you even realize it’s helpful or that the child understands you. 

It’s the same way with writing.  We invest months and years into writing novels that may or may not ever be published.  At this point we don’t get recognition or recompense. Many people I know don’t really think of my writing as a career.  I’m not getting paid, I don’t have anything published. It’s just a hobby, something I do on the side, right? 

Wrong.

I’m investing in my writing career.

If I wait until I have an agent or an editor to worry about that pesky grammar or writing craft I’ll never improve. If I wait for the perfect sale-able idea, the great American novel, and assume I'll be able to create fascinating dialogue and riveting characters it will never get written.  Most likely I’ll never get to the point of having an agent or editor.  I have to learn these things now so I can develop and deliver a quality product. It gets very discouraging to work so long and so hard with no promise of a reward, but the investment will pay off eventually, even if it’s not how you think. 

My poor novel might currently look like an ugly fledgling, but as I invest time in it, it will grow feathers, spread its wings, and we will soar to places I’d never dreamed of. 

And while the wait often seems long and hard, I’ve got to plant that sapling now if I want shade in a few years. 

39 comments:

  1. Fledgling writers must possess one important trait....PATIENCE! Happy to see you've figured that out already! :)

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    1. Figure out and apply are, unfortunately, different things. :)

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  2. Aww, but ugly fledglings can turn into beautiful swans! I hope mine do...

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  3. Investing! That's what I'm doing. Yeah, that sounds good.
    Great post, Sara!

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    1. We are investing, you know they say you have to write a million words before you're words are good enough. I'm counting blog posts. :)

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  4. So beautiful, Sara... and so true... if only I knew how to keep this mindset all the time! Great post.

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    1. I don't think we can keep anything all the time. And the hard times make the good times that much sweeter.

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  5. Very nice! Investing in your future as an author sounds better than pulling your hair out over those pesky grammar errors. :oP

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  6. Sara! I just popped over to DL's blog because Nicki Elson told me people were unveiling their entries. I'm officially on blogging break but when I found out the identity of one of my absolute favorite entrants I had to come tell you I loved your work! I believe in a vote I said I would read a novel by PC and I would! That's you. So. I would love to read a novel by you. Very well done. And I'm so happy to be able to let you know how much I liked your style!

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    1. Thank you so much Suze! That means a lot to me.

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  7. A writer writes, always! I think you are smart enough to get that tree grown and even bearing fruit :-)

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  8. I think the more people invest in their lives, children, work etc, the better off we'll all be. When we invest in a dream, we are looking to the future and taking the steps necessary to make that dream come true. For us writers, that dream takes time, patience and perseverance. Good post Sara. (:

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    1. Very true. If more people thought ahead then just for the moment our world, and economy, would be a better place.

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  9. Like a farmer preparing his fields. If he doesn't plant, nothing can grow when it rains. Love this post, Sara.

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  10. That's a brilliant way of approaching our writing journey, to see the pains and struggles we go through as an investment to a finished and published product!

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    1. It's the only way to look at it if we don't want to go crazy with worry and rejections.

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  11. His little book sounds pretty fabulous. I'm jotting down the title. I'm also looking forward to reading your novel one day, Sara. My motto: Never give up and never surrender!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Sorry, I should always re-read before posting. His little book has been very interesting and has made me really look at myself. Which can be scary, but hopefully will turn out for the best. :)

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  12. I certainly hope all this is true. I've put in countless hours and haven't made a dime. Good thing I'm not doing it for the money!

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    1. No, we don't do it for the money, but that doesn't mean I don't hope to make some someday.

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  13. Patience and perseverance... these are the key factors that a writer needs! And to keep on writing, of course...
    You have a great attitude! It will take you far...

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    1. Patience and perseverance are great words. Chocolate helps too.

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  14. Now that is well said. I just read the first novel I wrote in 1996. It was polished (to the best of my ability back then) and I must admit, it looks worse than my last first draft. EEK. Yet, it shows that I have grown, that I am a better writer, even if it's still clearly my voice and my writing.

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    1. That's why it's so good to keep our early work. It shows us how far we've come and without that perspective it's so easy to get down on ourselves.

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  15. This is so true. And it's why you shouldn't rush out and self publish your first or second novel. You need to grow as a writer first, then take the plunge. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't query your first novel. :D

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    1. Exactly, and I think it's why a lot of people end up having regrets about the choices they've made in this industry. They made them too fast without enough knowledge.

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  16. I always love your posts, Sara - this one in particular. There is something intriguing to me about the way we writers "mature" in private. Every once in a while you'll hear a comment about a debut author that goes something like: "They burst on the scene..." Really? Any writer worth their salt is toiling behind the scenes - usually for years. Thanks for your wise words, Sara!

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    1. So true! And it's good to remember because it's so easy to get jealous of those "bursting" authors. You wonder why it hasn't happened to you. If you remind yourself they've worked hard behind the scenes it's much easier to celebrate their success.

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  17. Reading your posts always lifts my spirits. I just finished attempting to put my son back down for the third time for a desperately needed nap before I realized it just wasn't going to happen. He's now happily gnawing on one of my knuckles, which cuts out the writing time that I had planned while my two napped. (Although I am rather pleased with how much I've typed one-handed so far, so perhaps writing might not be lost after all.) In my "woe is me" moment for losing my writing time I came here and read this. Thank you, I feel like you always have the right words of encouragement and comfort.

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    1. Thanks you! I'm happy that my post might have helped. I hate when I have writing planned and it falls through due to nap failure. There's such a feeling of disappointment and discouragement. I'm impressed with the one handed writing. I've done a bit of blogging that way myself.

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