Dropdown menu

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The point is the process

Tuesday, my precious friend Robbie spoke at WFTJ. If you haven't heard Robbie speak, you're missing out. That day, my hand hurt so much I wanted to cry. My heart was also a little bruised because some of my friends were celebrating being in a publication I wasn't chosen for. If I had been, I'd have been at a writing conference I really wanted to attend with some of my other friends who were there. So my heart was also bruised because I wasn't there.

I have to be honest, I had a few words with God over the whole thing. Am I wasting my time as a writer? I've heard for years about what a good writer I am. My agent is one of the top agents in the biz. He says I'm a good writer. For as long as I can remember, all I wanted to do was write books. I just reconnected with someone from high school on Facebook, and guess what she remembers about me? That I'm a good writer.

I'm struggling with my current book, because I keep second-guessing myself, wondering if I'm kidding myself and if this will be yet another book I pour my heart into for nothing. Now I understand the point of growing books. You know, the ones that teach you craft because you don't know a thing, or the ones that God needs to use on your heart. But here's the thing. I've COMPLETED 15 novels. I have 16 other partials and countless others in lesser stages of completion. Granted, a number of those are embarrassingly bad. I am GLAD that a couple of them never sold. But I'm tired of feeling like I'm spinning my wheels. I'm tired of "great writing, but the story isn't for us." And to answer any questions on this, yes, I do read the lines extensively. There just seems to be a disconnect. I can't seem to find "the story."

Now before you all run away from my whining, I have a larger point, I promise.

So here I was, feeling sorry for myself about not selling to this publication, which was the deal I'd made regarding this conference. Yep, I'm a dealmaker. I like to think of it as being practical. I've spent a lot of money on conferences over the years. I can't go to them all, much as I'd like to. So I had a chat with God, had a chat with hubby, and the deal was, if I sold one of these pieces, or if I got a book contract, that was permission to go. No sale, no conference. I've been really sad that I couldn't get that validation.

Then Robbie said something that made me think. Here's the note I typed at a time I could not grip a pen, and typing it nearly made me cry in pain.

"This is a process. Be present in this moment and enjoy it rather than taking the time to spend your time dreaming of the destination."

It's been a really long process for me. A friend sent me an email with her new cover, and I have to admit, I spent some time crying over it. One, because it's awesome, the hero is HOT!, and I am truly happy for her because this book means a lot. And she means a lot to me too. But I also cried because I wondered if it's ever going to happen for me. Am I going to ever send my cover to my best friends and have a giggle over the fact that the hero has an incredible butt?

As I had my mild pity party, I accidentally clicked on one of the untitled docs on my laptop. My notes from Robbie's talk. I haven't filed and saved it yet because that's all I could muster to type. God nudged me a little bit, reminding me of how I'm spending more time worrying over whether or not this one will be THE ONE or if it's just going to be a waste of my time. He reminded me that my stories are not wasted. And, as my agent has pointed out a couple of times with his humbling belief in me, one day, we can go back, revise those stories, and folks will gobble them up. But that's not the point.

The point is the process. I love the story I'm writing. I love the characters I'm writing about. I need to stop wallowing in my worry over what may or may not be and remember what I love about what I'm doing. If I knew I would never sell a single book, I'd still write. Because I find joy in what I do. I can't let the fear of rejection, the worry over the future, and the lack of validation take that joy from me.

So for the rest of the day, at least for today, because I'm going to try this whole live in the moment thing, I'm going to be present in the process. I'm going to take out my book and write. I'm going to stop editing myself because I think I'm going too far. That will keep for another day. Today, I'm just going to follow the joy.


smithsk said...

Great post, Danica. You are a good writer! And you address the fears and doubts so many of us have. You have been an encouragement. Susan

Denise Miller Holmes said...

Amen Danica. We all have to embrace this truth or we will go crazy.

Danica Favorite said...

Thanks Susan. It was so good to see you Tues.

Denise, this is definitely not the good kind of going crazy.

Robbie Iobst said...

I'm honored, Danica, that the Lord used me a little bit. The writing journey is so rich and rewarding...and RUTHLESS in its difficulty. But we love it! So glad you're my friend.

Jenny B. Jones said...

God has big plans for you, girl. Hang in there...with candy. And chocolate.