Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chasing dreams

A few weeks back, I caught an interview on NPR with former Olympians. I'd never really thought about it before, but for many athletes, adjusting to life after the Olympics is incredibly difficult. Many of them have finished their careers by their thirties, or even twenties. They've pursued their lives' passion, and reached the highest plateau possible. So what else is left for them?

I was reminded of those Olympians recently. I had been dreaming of announcing some good news on the blog, but last week learned that things hadn't worked out. It's not the first time I've come so close to success in the publishing industry that I could almost touch it. And in struggling with my disappointment, I wondered what you do with your life when the one thing you're passionate about is currently impossible.

Some writer friends commiserated with me, and reminded me not to give up. But I couldn't really imagine giving up. While I've started subbing in schools again, writing is my full time job. And I love it.

Of course, I could self publish, or submit to several small ebook publishers who have sprung up recently. I thought over those options, too, but realized they're not my dream. Others have found happiness on those routes (some few even success), but as someone who's fantasized about writing and publishing since childhood, and still sees the world of books as magical, warts and all, I believe in the industry and want to be part of it.

Obviously, the only option left to me is to keep writing. And maybe that makes me lucky... those former Olympians have lost their muscle and flexibility and endurance, and will never be successful in their sport again--though a gold metal might smooth over a lot of angst!

I make "keep writing" sound like an easy answer, when it isn't really. It means more years of not knowing how to tell people what I do for a living. It means more self-doubt, more frustration, many more hours of work with no pay or affirmation. But it also means I can keep telling stories. And, for now at least, I wouldn't have it any other way.

16 comments:

  1. Oooo, Anne. I wish you could have posted fantastic news, too. Coming close is wonderful in a way, but it definitely hurts more. I'm with you on hanging in there EVEN THOUGH (all those things you said). *hugs*

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    1. Thanks, Kiperoo. So nice to commiserate with other writers who get *all those things*!

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  2. So sorry to hear this, but I hope it will make you even more determined to keep going. Success will taste all the sweeter for this temporary setback.

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  3. Love how you've expressed your sentiments here. Well done for keeping on!

    Elisabeth

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    1. Thanks, Elisabeth. Definitely helped to take a few days to write this post--but I'm glad I did! So nice to get support from people who get it.

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  4. In all my subbing-for-publication years (and it’s more than a few now) I only cried at two rejections, and both were the oh- so-close kind. That novel is now traditionally published, so there is some good news.
    The ‘Almosts’ are by far the hardest.
    From multi-published writing friends I have learned that the crushing of dreams does not end with publication. But creative people dream- that’s what we do. Would you have it any other way?
    Your love of writing is the real deal. That, and the fact that you are not talking about writing, *you are doing it*. You are a writer, no apologies.

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    1. Nope, no other way. It's been a good realization to reach. Thanks for the reminder, Mirka.

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  5. Anne, so sorry that things didn't work out. We all know that feeling because it's part of the business we're in. But is it impossible? I don't think so. Keep subbing the ms. Like Mirka, it may find its way to publication. When you least expect it, too. Hang in there...

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    1. Thanks, Andrea. I think sometimes the hardest bit is to keep on keeping on, but of course that's the only way forward, too.

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  6. Anne your time is definitely coming. I do love your attitude. And yes some days are better than others. Think of the blessings in your non-writing life and keep moving forward in your journey. You'll get there. In the meantime revel in the growth you're making as a writer.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Karen. It is hard some days, but I think we just have to keep moving forward, huh?

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  7. Hang in there, Anne! You're already so close--just keep pushing on!

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  8. I'm sorry you didn't get the good news you'd been hoping for, Anne! Based on the bits and pieces you've mentioned about your WIPs, and the excerpt you posted awhile back, I'm hoping to get a chance to read your stories in print someday, too! :) --Monica.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Monica. So nice to have that encouragement!

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