Thursday, January 21, 2010

Journeys, Destinations and Other Metaphors

My birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks (turns out my birthday isn't far from Christine's, should anyone want to pop over and say happy birthday to her!).

Traditionally a time of reflection, taking stock, goal setting.

A birthday six weeks after Christmas can make a person lazy. You make all your resolutions and by the time the next Big Taking Stock moment rolls around, it's acceptable not to have started working on things. It's only been a few weeks, I've been busy, I'll start soon, it's only February. I feel if my birthday fell a month later, it would be a more effective nudge back towards my goals.

And I'd be a Pisces. For better or for worse.

Anyway, effective or not, birthdays always make me think. Am I where I imagined I would be at this age? (Is anyone ever where they imagined they would be, at any time, though?)

I wanted to be published younger, but a very smart friend once said to me that it's not important to be published young, it's important to be published well.

Another very smart friend told me a few months ago (I like to start my birthday angst early so I can get a good run at it) that if you insist on setting too many goals that you must attain by a certain age, you'll look back on your life and realise you spent a lot of time in your basement alone trying to deliver a certain quantity of achievement, and not enough time living. Another fair point.

But still.

It would be lovely if I had been hyper-productive when I was younger and had gotten published years ago. But I wasn't, and I didn't. I've always written in conjunction with a day job (good training, since the statistics say I probably always will. . .) I didn't commit myself seriously to a single project until I was 24. I've taken my first project slowly, I've been derailed a few times, and I may never write fecking historical fiction ever again. Ahem.

That being said, this is my journey. These are the lessons I've had to learn. And I'm not about to start wishing away journey time and saying that I want to be published in the morning, if not sooner. I want to be published, sure, but I want to be ready for the reality of the career that follows it if and when it happens. I want to have made some mistakes and learned some lessons.

And I'm willing to wait until the time is right for me, regardless of how old I happen to be.

Remind me about this when I'm querying, guys. Seriously.

5 comments:

  1. Sounds like a very healthy approach. If only I could adopt it!

    I imagine if any one were to be published well it would be you. I don't know many writers who put in as much time as you do to learn about the industry.

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  2. Finishing the pesky book might help too :)

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  3. Hi

    Take it from someone who turned the big four-zero and is loving every crazy but ever so exciting moment of it!

    It's never too late. Never, ever, ever! I can honestly say that I'm happier now that ten, five years ago. I never, ever want to return to those years.

    :-)

    And of course you will finish your book. Of course you will.

    Take care

    x

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  4. Ellen, you have articulated my own angst about aging. My new CP is ten years younger than me and I am so envious of her extra time. But then it is her journey, not mine. I am like you -- I'll get there in my own way.

    We can't alter our pasts. We can only rewrite our futures.

    Hugs and keep me posted about your bday!

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  5. Thanks for the comments, guys - onwards and upwards!

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