Aug 14, 2010
Reflections on WD Interview
this interview has been overwhelming. My website hits that one day went from my average 1500 hits to over 11,000! Um, wow. Just wow. My stack of #amwriting bios to add to the directory? Well, it's bigger. (I'm working through a couple different possibilities to get help shrinking the stack.) Thank you so much, Jane, for this opportunity.
I look back at the interview and ask myself if I managed to say the things I wanted to say. I know I talked a lot about process and experience, but I don't think I connected this with success and dignity.
Before we're published, writers too-often associate no-answers with failure instead of progress. I'm not sure when we learn this, but we're not born that way. Just look at kids learning to walk. They don't fall down once and say, "Well to hell with that. I tried." (Or, you know, whatever the toddler version of that would be.) No, they wail in frustration sometimes, but they always have at it again.
Yet, as writers, we often don't have the resilience of toddlers. A single rejection is like a stumble. "How many stumbles?" we ask. And, of course, the answer is, "as many as it takes." Do toddlers stop and analyze and blame the floor and the furniture and the people and the dog for their fall? Not in my experience. They may wail, but they also adapt with equal passion.
I know one little girl who is really expressive when she adapts. You can see in her eyes when she gets a new idea. Maybe if she grabs the dog's hair, he'll jerk forward and pull her to her feet! Yeah! So what if he drags her across the floor and her great idea smashes into the coffee table with her? She adapts again. Hey! Coffee table! She pulls herself up. . .
So yeah, I'm not sure when we start to associate learning with failure, but I am certain it's counter-productive to everything we're trying to achieve.
What happens when we choose to treat ourselves and our writing paths with dignity? What happens when we see each stumble as a chance to adapt and try something new? How often do you give yourself credit for all you're learning?
Success isn't an arrival destination. It's a path. It's about owning your experiences and adapting and really engaging with your dreams. It's very likely the path you're walking right now.
So on a bad day, when you're feeling a little too beat up by your falls, allow yourself that one thought: "Maybe this is what success looks like." Then adapt.