Saturday, December 3, 2011

Keeping The Faith

No, this blog isn't about God. Not that I have anything against him/her/them. I simply don't want to tackle the beast of religion at this moment in time. This also isn't about that Ben Stiller/Ed Norton movie about the priest and the rabbi and them falling in love. Actually, now that I am writing this out, the title seems all wrong, but, to be frank, I don't want to change it because it actually applies to what I plan on posting about.

It's been awhile since I've wrote a blog about writing. Mostly because I've actually been doing a lot of writing and haven't had the time to contemplate the act of it. This afternoon I found myself on the lovely Lexi Revellian's blog and thought the last line of her post was mull-worthy. After toying with it for a long time, I realized why it resonated with me.

The last couple of weeks I've stumbled across a few posts from fellow writers that have bothered me. Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, or detailed in a blog, I took notice of what these people were saying because they all seemed to be stuck in the same conflict. And I think the reason I was so interested is because what they were talking about was something I'd never even thought of, let alone made public for others to see. 

These writers were all talking about quitting. Yep. Tossing the towel in. Giving up. Stepping off the hamster wheel.

Now, there are enough blogs out there talking about rejection and how it's hard and how we all have to take it in stride, so I'm not going to bother joining that ticker-tape parade. What I am going to talk about is faith and why it's important to not only keep it, but to cultivate it, shelter it, water it and feed it so that it can flourish. As creative individuals, we need faith in ourselves and our art. And if we don't, we won't succeed.

Unlike a lot of people, I don't measure success by how much someone has had published, whether or not they have an agent or if they have been offered a six figure deal. Not at all. For me, success as a writer comes from how you feel about about the work you're creating. I consider myself successful because I have wrote a book (or six). In fact, I feel successful every time I write a sentence that makes me smile or feel sad. There is a blossom of success when I come up with a unique plot twist, develop a flawed character, or write an interesting bit of dialogue. I even feel a bit successful every time I post a blog or produce a vlog. And this success allows me to experience faith.

Faith that I'm doing what I should be doing.

Sometimes people write for the wrong reasons, like being published, becoming rich or for fame. These things are not a guarantee. I mean, I wish they were, but they simply aren't. To be honest, if this is why you are writing a book, chances are, it isn't going to work out for you. It might, but most writers aren't Stephen King or J.K Rowling. Most writers struggle their whole lives to get published and a lot of them never do.

This might seem like a harsh truth, but I don't intend it to be. We need to be aware of the market we are in. It basically comes down to being realistic and understanding the amount of work that goes into writing. They say an author needs to write a million words before they are ready to be published. That's a lot of words. But I don't think that's necessarily true. I think you need to write a million words and be open to growing and learning. Without growth and the ability to learn you won't succeed. You will continue to be disappointed in your work. And you'll continue to battle with whether you should even be writing at all.

For me, writing isn't a meal ticket. I don't know what will come of it, but I do know I will never stop. Quitting is not an option. I've been cultivating my faith for a long time. At this point in my life, I know I'm supposed to be writing. I have faith in myself and the work I produce. Which means it only comes down to time.

And in regards to that, I can only hope I'm not the next Herman Melville because he died before he ever got to see his work celebrated.

So, if you're one of these people who are contemplating quitting, take a look at why you are so frustrated. Try to keep the faith, but if it isn't there, look inwards and figure out why. And if you really aren't enjoying the process and are constantly disappointed perhaps a new hobby is in order. Or maybe a new way of looking at things.


Holly L'Oiseau said...

Great post! That's hard for some writers to swallow because we live in the world of instant gratification. That's why there's vanity publishing.

My one word of advice to writers is: your baby is ugly. That's right. That baby you call your novel that you think is the cutest on the block, is ugly. You have to open yourself up to learning everything you can about the craft, and you can't get so close to you work that you're unwilling to grow. And growing takes time...and change. Writers who want to give up are usually stagnant.

Anonymous said...

Well said and well written. Sometimes faith does not need a official form of spiritual locomotion. It needs times, effort and the ability to full express what it is you experience in this dance of life.

ps. Placebo cake is available in the lobby

Anonymous said...

Well said and well written. Sometimes faith does not need a official form of spiritual locomotion. It needs times, effort and the ability to full express what it is you experience in this dance of life.

ps. Placebo cake is available in the lobby

T.L Tyson said...

I love cake. ;)

Fennie said...

Oh yes, keep writing. It's therapeutic and there are so many worse things to do. It's also the flip side to reading.

Exmoorjane said...

Faithless and artless of Exmoor here. :) But I hear you, Tee...and yes, beautifully wrote as per usual. xxxxx

And, oh! Fennie. *BIG SMILE* I get little shivers when friends from different worlds meet up. :D

Tyson said...

Reading! Oh dear. Haven't done that in years.

@Jane - xoxox ;)

Internet Geek said...

Excellent timing, Tee. While I'm not contemplating retiring my pen & notebook, I was very discouraged yesterday after re-reading magnus opus. But even in the depths of my despair, I realized I had a few brilliant bits worth keeping. I may only reach a handful of readers, but at least I'm reaching... :)

Tyson said...

@Internet Geek! If you don't reach you won't grasp anything. That's my motto. Keep at it. Most of us are in the same paddling pool. x

Jasmine Walt said...

I needed to read that. :)

Tyson said...

Apparently, a lot of people do, Jasmine.