I just posted a video yesterday in which I discussed a recent shift in my perspective as a writer. Recently, I have had sort of tunnel vision about my young adult novel. I have been so obsessed with whether or not that is going to be traditionally published that I haven’t fully appreciated the other things I have accomplished as a writer (like having my play, THE SPINS, picked up for a production at Out of Box Theatre in January of 2016 or winning NaNoWriMo last year or putting together a collection of stories and poems for my church).
I think as writers and as artists, we all do this. That short film you produced didn’t get into the film festival, you didn’t get cast in that play you really wanted to do, or you haven’t gotten a record label to sign your band yet. We can focus so much on these things that we miss so much. We miss celebrating the things we are achieving. We miss our enjoyment of the process.
It might seem like you haven’t accomplished anything as a writer if you’ve never been published, but that’s not true. Did you write a blog post today? Did you do any sort of writing? Were you creative? Did you make some kind of art? These are all things to be proud of, things to appreciate.
As a writer (or any kind of artist, really), it’s so important to be in the moment with the creative process. You have to enjoy the art you are creating–the stories you’re writing, the songs you’re singing, the paintings you’re making. You can’t control what publishers or venue managers or festival organizers do, and art is so subjective. There are going to be people who don’t like your work. And that is okay.
You do have control over how many words you write today. You have control over how much time you spend painting. You have control over the art that you create, and that is something to celebrate.
If you want to be a writer, there is going to be a ton of rejection, criticism, and negativity. You have to find the positive aspects–the things you love about being a writer–to turn to when you are up against all of those obstacles. Try making a list of everything you have accomplished as a writer: everything you have written, every publication you have had (no matter how small), every positive thing anyone has said about your writing, every time your writing had an impact on anyone, every writing event you have participated in, etc. Add to list everything you love about being a writer. And the next time you are bummed out about that latest rejection letter or that horrible one-star review on Goodreads, refer back to your list and remember all of the things you love about being a writer.