Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The worth of a goal

Author and teacher extraordinaire, Barbara Rogan has a post here in which she talks about a study recently done on authors.  In her post Barbara says:


My advice to aspiring fiction writers is and has always been that if they can imagine themselves happy doing anything else, they should do it. 


 This statement wormed its way into my subconcious and brought back out a memory. When my brother, who is an anesthesiologist, was starting at a university and considering the long journey of pre-med, med school, residency, school loans, and such, spoke with many doctors. He asked about the process, if they thought it was worth it, how to prepare for it.  He was told by the doctors, if there is anything else you can do and be happy, then do it.  The long arduous trip was only worth it if you were driven to practice medicine. If it was a calling, rather than an occupation.

It surprised me a bit at first to see the same words applied to writing, but then it made perfect sense.  I've often heard that a writer has to write a million words before they are good enough to get published. I guess those million words are our med-school and residency.  No, writing doesn't save people's lives, but it can save people's souls.

Most, if not all, professions have some sort of training or certification that one has to complete before being able to do the job.  All our training is on the job, and because writing is a solitary pursuit it can sometimes take us a long time to really grow. The pathway to publishing is long, and difficult.  One of the hardest things is how subjective it is.  Even if we practice and write our million words, even if we are very, very good, there is no guarantee that we'll find someone who believes in our book the same way we do. 

All in all I agree with the statement, if you are not driven to be a writer, the rejection strewn pathway may not be worth it for you.  I've known others who have given up rather than trying to learn and grow. The reward of being published wasn't worth the work, effort, and rejection received.

But it is for me.

14 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this post, Sara. Thank you.

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  2. That's why I decided to shoot for becoming an editor, writing on the side. There's a much higher chance I won't starve to death. ;)

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  3. Nice post! And my brother is an anesthesiologist too--small world! :)

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  4. Barbara is right! Thanks for reminding me of this.

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  5. I agree. Writing is a calling, not an occupation. This was perfect for me today. Thank you, Sara.

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  6. It definitely takes a thick skin to get through all the rejections, but I don't know that I could give it up even if I didn't have it (luckily I do!) because, for me, it's my escape place. :)

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  7. Yeah it's definitely true. What's more, writers who aren't driven won't even get to the point of publishing, since they won't have what it takes to finish a book.

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  8. My goodness, I know what you mean! This roller coaster is not for the faint of heart. Even after reaching "publication," I find myself wondering if query you-know-where wasn't better. Of course, that's the inner chicken speaking. I love this road, I just sometimes wish I could hit the pause button.

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  9. It is for me too. I'd still write even if I was never published. The year or so of writing drought that I had was very scary; I felt as though a piece of myself had disappeared. I hope I'm never bereft of ideas and writing drive again.

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  10. It's so very true. I write because I love it and can't imagine doing anything else. :)

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  11. Writing is a form of art. If you are not totally invested in it, it will never reach its fullest potential.

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  12. whoa...what a statement to make you think!

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  13. I do totally believe that. Cuz when it's not rejection, its' neg reviews. It is SO subjective. Art always will be. It truly requires passion and dedication no matter what.

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  14. The rejection is tough. I once had a parody of my blog created. The guy would post a parody every day of the blog I'd written the day before. Over time, it toughens you...but I don't think negative reviews/rejection ever stops hurting completely. Honestly? I'm guessing many successful authors learn to stop reading their reviews. There isn't a single piece of fiction (film, book, or otherwise) that every person will like. Somehow we have to learn to shut out the negative and pay attention to the positive, if that's possible!

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