We are, so the song goes, living in a material world.
And I am most definitely not a material girl.
Honestly, I’ve never really been into “stuff”; not since I became an adult and especially not since I became an environmentalist.
Or a writer, for that matter, since this means I have a never-ending stream of personally curated entertainment at the ready inside my head at all times.
My chapter revision tracking system for draft 2, with special emphasis given to chapters 7, 15, 21, and 30 (formerly 31)
The ultimate reward of writing, obviously, is publishing a book and having it read to widespread appeal.
But long before reaching that point, should a writer reward the intermediate stages of his/her writing journey?
In the past, I’ve written not only about both the importance of goal-setting, but also of ensuring your goals have corresponding plans to power their fulfillment.
The Helix Nebula, nicknamed the “Eye of God”
Years ago, I blogged about a common big question that often arises in writing.
Namely, the question of when you can properly call yourself a writer.
At the time, I’d just found “The Answer to the Big Question” in my house. This was a list explaining the various circumstances that make one a writer that I’d printed from the internet years earlier when I too was uncertain on this matter.
I’ve had a cough for the last three months.
Coughing isn’t a customary occurrence for me. Neither is having any sort of illness linger for so long.
Part of the problem is that the cough, if one can be said to be such, is largely asymptomatic. Which is to say a cough is all I have: no sneezing and sniffling of a cold, no aches and pains and lethargy of the flu.
Even the doctor says there’s nothing pathologically wrong with me.
When it comes to books and words and the creation and consumption of both, although I write nearly every day, I’ve always considered myself a reader first while only second am I a writer.
Of course, there is factual truth to this statement: I literally learned and continued to read stories before I started writing them (although the timing for both is close; I clearly recall writing my first “novel” in grade two).
Even now as an adult, my almost-daily reading occurs earlier in the day (dinner time) than does my almost-daily writing (after dinner, the last thing before I go to sleep).
Like many writers, I am balancing my as-yet unpaid writing efforts with my paid day job.
At certain times of the year, my job requires me to work overtime. One such occasion recently occurred, and at the end of my protracted work day, I found myself riding the elevator down with my boss, who is also an up-and-coming writer.
We got to chatting about how we would spend the rest of our respective evenings, or what remained of them. This morphed into talk of how we usually spend our evenings, in particular as related to our writing.
Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in The Bucket List (2007).
A fellow writer friend once told me:
“When I finish and publish my novel [a long-standing project of hers that’s faced many setbacks along the way], my life will be complete.”
“You mean, that portion of your life will be complete,” I clarified.
“No,” she persisted, “I mean I’ll have achieved my life’s greatest goal.”
“Until you come up with the next great goal, that is, right?”
My friend, after all, is only 37 – a bit early to peak in life, if you ask me.
For many writers, the writing and publishing of a novel – whether traditionally or via self-publishing – can take years: years spent finding the time, finding the motivation, finding one’s voice and message, and, of course, finding the skill to effectively convey it all.