A to Z Challenge 2013

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blog Chain - Not Quite What You Expected

It's time to jump on the blog train...er, chain.  And the super-talented Sarah's got quite a challenging question for us this time around:

What has been the most unexpected part of your writing journey up to this point? What has happened that you could never have expected? Has it been a help or a hindrance?

I say this question is challenging because I'm at a different point in the writing journey than so many others on the chain.  There are some who are querying, some who have been literally been writing for years, and some who are experiencing the joys of publishing bliss (or even multiple book bliss).  Me, I'm still working on getting an entire story written all the way to final draft.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this as a denigration of self.  I'm proud of the fact that I've stuck it out this long.  But where I'm at in the journey does make me think when it comes to questions like this.  And that's not a bad thing.

Probably the most unexpected aspect of writing for me has been finding humility and pride, one right after the other.  When I first started writing, I jumped on the awesome writer train as I cranked out my first book.  I wrote and wrote and wrote.  I assumed because friends and family were lauding my mad writing skills that obviously I was awesome.  Then I asked somebody to help critique it, figuring I'd tweak things a bit and be ready for querying.  The returned copy was less than flattering - but it was honest.

After picking myself up off the floor (figuratively anyway), I realized I wasn't this instantly awesome writer and I needed to stay grounded as I learn.  Then I took a writing class, learned a bunch, listened to all of you, and I was able to be proud of what I write.  Sure, it's not perfect.  But it is better than when I started.

I'm usually pretty hard on myself, particularly with regards to areas of my life that I care a lot about.  I agonize all the time over mistakes I might be making as a Dad.  I worry that I'm not doing enough for my wife.  And I used to beat myself up all the time over my writing.  I'm getting better at being proud of what I write, of acknowledging when I write well.  I remind myself of the awesome writer train mistake  constantly, but I also remind myself to have some pride.  It's an odd feeling, this balancing act between humility and egotism.  But it allows me to keep going, to keep writing.

Yesterday Michelle Hickman put up a great post on the subject that you have to check out.  And tomorrow you can look forward to hearing from Michelle McLean.  Both are awesome writers, so make sure you check them out.

And what has happened to you that you didn't expect while making your way through this writing journey?


Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I think my son would be very interested in writing if there were trains involved. ;) I agree that being a writer requires careful balancing of humility and pride.

Michelle H. said...

You handle the balancing act well. So long as you keep plugging away, you'll one day find you've perfected the next bestseller. Great post!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

You are so right about that balance of humility and pride. I also think it's admirable that you even though you were able to go from thinking you were obviously awesome to being able to take and learn from an honest critique. Some people never get past the "I'm awesome" phase, and assume that all critics are jerks.

Angela Felsted said...

It's good to know where you are in the game. Take your time, no rush.

Eric said...

Sandra - Your son and his love of trains is so cool. Maybe he'll grow up to be an engineer, huh?

Michelle - I don't always feel like I am, but I keep on trying, so I guess that's what counts. Thanks though.

Kate - Well, I think we all have to have that realization moment where we really figure out who we truly are and not allow our ego to become over-inflated. It's what makes us better people IMHO.

Angela - I keep telling myself that, to take my time and not to worry where I am in the writing journey. Sometimes it's harder to live with, but mostly I'm okay with being patient. Thanks.

Margie Gelbwasser said...

Finding that medium is important--that part of being proud of yourself and humble too. And I'm ALWAYS hard on myself also but I've gotten better (maybe it's a writer thing; we're wired differently than the rest of the world). Keep plugging!!

D.M. Mitchell said...

Hi Eric!
I really like your blog. I noticed that your topic for today was a blog chain... what is a blog chain, and how do I get in on that action? please let me know :)

Shaun Hutchinson said...

Keep trucking, dude! I think writing has the longest apprenticeship ever. Sure, some writes nail it right off the bat, but they're the exception. I started writing around ten and did it on and off for 20 years before selling a book. You'll get there, of that I have faith.

Christine Fonseca said...

Nothing wrong with slow and steady, you know. The only way people DON'T make it is if they completely stop.

Kat Harris said...

Yeah, what Christine said...Slow and steady wins the race.

Eric said...

Margie - Thanks. Yeah, we do seem to be pretty hard on ourselves, don't we?

D.M. - A blog chain is just that, a chain of blogs that post on the same topic one after the other. I'll talk to the owner of this particular one and get her in touch with you.

Shaun - See, I used to write when I was about 12 or so, but I didn't keep at it. I can kick myself for that. But hey, I'm making a comeback now, huh?

Christine - You got that right. Not permanent stopping here, just a bit slower for a while.

Kat - Yep, both of you are very preachin' to the choir.

And thanks to all for being so supportive.

Cole Gibsen said...

Oh my goodness I know exactly how you feel! And even when you achieve the things you think will make you happy - all of a sudden it's not enough. It's a viscious cycle and I have to remind myself daily that my path is different and I need to celebrated the accomplishments that I've made rather than keep staring out at the horizen.