…I am…in spite of so many obstacles on the path to my destination as “successful writer.”
Two years ago (“I should be thankful, but…”), I griped about the many challenges facing writers in the modern, Wild West-like world of publishing. I took positive, prevailing thoughts and poked holes in optimists’ arguments.
Every silver lining has a storm cloud, right?
So many of my posts over the years have outlined the challenges and frustrations that go hand-in-hand with being an aspiring author, an up-and-comer, a struggler starter, and so forth. From finding time to write to promoting one’s fiction to ultimately getting compensated for one’s work, there are no shortage of injustices to bemoan.
And it didn’t help that 2014 began with some bad news…
Today, however, I endeavor to do the opposite of 2012’s exercise. Rather than harp on the struggle, I will embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving by acknowledging the advantageous and affirming aspects of being a fiction writer in 2014 (and beyond):
1. I’m thankful for stories that demand to be told.
Despite the many characters’ voices clamoring for attention in my head, taking me to task when I allegedly slack off, and even though I have more story starters ricocheting within my gray matter than I could ever make time for, I can’t imagine living in a world where random “What if?” thoughts don’t bloom into myriad plots and would-be worlds as I traverse the here and now.
2. I’m thankful for progress.
Every writer could use more time for fiction writing, and none of us would turn up his nose at a few more acceptance letters (and advances). I haven’t accomplished nearly as much as I wanted to this year, but in spite of an unrelenting calendar, I can look back and see how far I’ve come. Even small, measured steps take us forward.
3. I’m thankful for support.
I’ve compared writing to an addiction in the past; if nothing else, it’s a habit, and I’m blessed to be able to rely on family and friends for support—whether for feedback for specific projects or simply for encouragement when the struggle overshadows the enjoyment of the craft. Additionally, I’m honored to be a part of the Allied Authors of Wisconsin (because writers groups still matter).
4. I’m thankful for success.
Despite the woeful fate of The Pajamazon Amazon vs The Goofers Twofers, the children’s book my wife and I self-published, I still count that project as a victory—a learning experience, yes, but a victory nonetheless. And even though neither of the short stories I’ve been shopping around have been published, “Going Viral” received an honorable mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest in June, and I was notified recently that “Ghost Mode,” which I submitted to that same contest for the fourth quarter of 2014, made it to the next round of judging, so…fingers crossed!
5. I’m thankful for opportunity.
I’ve spent a lot of space on this blog pointing out some of the misperceptions and missteps inherent in the self-publishing arena as well as the traditional publishing model. But at the end of the day, thanks to modern technology, we writers have never had more channels through which to reach our audience. Moreover, we’ve probably never had so many literate people on the planet at one time. Just imagine trying to be a writer in the Middle Ages?
6. I’m thankful for living in the heyday of speculative fiction.
It’s everywhere, folks, and that’s good news for someone who not only consumes sci-fi and fantasy books, movies, and video games, but also who can’t seem to write a story that doesn’t go someplace weird.
7. I’m thankful for the world outside my head.
OK, that’s an odd way of putting it, but what I mean is that all of my ideas in my head, all of the words I type, and all of the readers I may one day reach don’t mean much without the embarrassment of riches that make up the rest of my life. All of my needs are met, as are so many of my wants. I have an amazing wife, two awesome kids, and so many other people around me that make life at least as fun (if not stranger) than fiction.
When I stop dwelling on supposed shortcomings and impediments to where I want to go, I realize that the journey has been one heck of a road trip so far and promises to stay that way. “Thank you” almost seems too small a sentiment to pass along to the Author of it all.
What are you thankful for—as a writer, a reader, or simply a human being? Share below!
Thankful for doing work I love, albeit stressful sometimes.
Thankful I can support my family and I doing it.
Thankful that my ability to do the two items above has nothing to do with published fiction whose treacherous paths you’ve previously outlined. I’m right there just a few steps behind you, brother.
Thankful my first novel’s manuscript first draft is done and out to my prereaders.
Thankful for others, present company especially, who can relate to and appreciate my literary efforts (both the struggles and the successes.)
I’m thankful I’m still alive and that my failing brain can still bring up fairly interesting words and ideas.
I am not thankful for this world of ours which seems to be in permanent self-destruct mode. The nation too.
As always, beautifully written, dear friend. Be patient. It will happen.
And what’s t his light under the bushel thing? First i heard that you were getting good response on your short stories. (OR have I just forgotten?)
It’s gotta happen one day soon. You’re too good a writer to fade into oblivion.
Thanks, Tom. Your enduring encouragement is beyond value.
I shared the news about the honorable mention at the August AAW meeting. Didn’t dwell too long on it, as the story in question wasn’t published, but I’ll take affirmation where I can get it!
I am thankful for the new Anne Rice book! I haven’t even had time to finish it yet but just knowing its waiting for me makes me happy?
I remember when a new DragonLance book would come out, and I’d rip through it in a couple of days. I suppose I needed less sleep back then and had far fewer things competing for my attention. Still, there’s nothing like when a long-awaited book becomes available from a much-loved author.
Enjoy your book! (And have a happy Thanksgiving, despite being so far from the motherland!)