Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Writers Society: Go With The Flow

Okay, fast meeting today! I have like 30 mins before I have to go see Dino Boy in his preschool Halloween parade. After that I have pies to bake for a party tonight and costumes to finalize. You know, life.

So here's the thing: Life did not go according to plan this week. Boy, did it not go according to plan. Remember my goal of finishing this revision by mid-November? Ha. I laugh at my ambition. It's so not happening.

I got nothing done this week. Okay, I rewrote a page. Woot.

Do I feel guilty? Is it frustrating that I will definitely NOT finish revisions in two weeks? NO.

A year or so ago, I would have felt that way, but you know what? I'm so over it. Writing and publishing rarely ever go according to plan or schedule. There is so much unpredictability written into the process that sometimes you just can't know for sure when things will get done or when stuff will happen.

This is okay. This is how publishing goes. Chill out.

It kills me when I see people who have goals like "I will have an agent by 2011" or "I will have a deal by 2012." You are setting yourself up for disappointment! Sure, it could happen, but what if it doesn't? Well, you feel like crap for no reason, that's what.

I know because I used to do that. "I want an agent by the time I turn 25" was one of mine. Well, when I turned 25, I was pretty depressed that I didn't make it happen. Which is down right silly because so much of it was out of my control! (And I did manage to snag an agent that year, so the self-deprecation I put myself through was seriously unnecessary.)

It's so easy to feel like time is running out. That books will somehow disappear and no one will ever read stories again. It's so easy to feel like you have to get out there NOW. That you are missing your chance. Blah blah blah.

You aren't.

Stuff happens. Sometimes it's really sucky stuff. But that in no way devalues your work or you as a writer. You'll get back on track. You'll figure it out. Just go with the flow and try to enjoy the ride.


  1. This is one of those things that's really difficult to fully internalize, because even while objectively you know you shouldn't feel terrible about not achieving something outside of your control, your emotions don't always follow the line of reason. But you're so, so right. Going with the flow and trying to enjoy what you have NOW is very important. :)

  2. Yeah, it can be frustrating. I had a "goal" to send out my first query letter in October...not going to happen. But I think the extra time will better my writing and might make things turn out for the best! Going with the flow is the way to go :)

  3. Ditto what Emy said.

    I think it's really important to set goals and work towards them. I also think it's really important to forgive yourself when the timing doesn't work out perfectly. So we all have to find the compromise between those two.

  4. Thanks for this post. I'm not going to be meeting my goals this month and was feeling frustrated by that. So thanks. And thanks for recommending Fruits Basket. I'm loving it!

  5. Yes, very true.
    This is a wonderful post to read right before starting NaNoWriMo. Hopefully everyone will remember this after November ends, too, especially if they didn't make their 50k words goal.

  6. But...books kind of are disappearing, aren't they? At least in physical form. :) But yes, totally agree with this and we all need to not beat ourselves up so much.

  7. Ha, you are so funny. And awesome! I totally agree and GET what you're saying. Hope Dino Boy was wicked awesome at his parade.

  8. Yeah, Laura, they want us to think that. But even if it does happen, I ask you this:

    Would you rather see your book on someone's shelf, at home, but they've never read it...

    Or would you rather have someone read it and love it no matter what media it came on?

  9. This is one thing I try to remind myself all the time. I try to focus on just enjoying where I'm at in the process, rather than dreaming of where I wish I was. Thanks for sharing this!

  10. Excellent advice. I'm one of those people who never really relaxes because when I'm doing something relaxing, I'm worrying about all the non-relaxing things I'm not getting done.

    Writing has helped turn me into that person. Before I started writing, my downtime was blissfully unproductive. I could sit for an hour and watch mindless TV without guilt. Now I know that hour of What Not to Wear comes at the expense of several pages of revisions.

    I should really be able to separate the two.

    The reason I can't, though, is because I'm in a hurry to get my work out there before books somehow disappear and everyone stops reading stories and I miss my chance.

    Geez. You're right - I need to chill!

  11. Right now my goal is just to finish the novel I'm working on, and then start another one. You're right about having goals like getting agents or a book published by 2011 puts too much pressure on yourself, and then it can make writing less fun.

  12. Boy oh boy do I relate! Stuff certainly does happen...I'm learning that now especially as some major life changes are heading my way.

  13. Oh my gosh, I so make stupid goals for myself like "I've got to land an agent when I'm 25" or "I will have my revisions done in two weeks." There all things that sound reasonable once you've worked it out and pretended like you have nothing other to do with your time, but in reality I know I'm just setting myself up. When I do it and I know it though, it does give me a quick chuckle. I never learn, lol.

  14. Late in on the Happiness this time around.

    But just to say, as far as fiction confounding fenomena go, distraction is way higher up the ladder than procrastination in my book.

    As for doing anything by the time I'm 25 — wish I still could.

    My best remaining hope for hitching up with an agent is to do so while I still have my own hair and teeth.