You just have to accept that it takes a phenomenal amount of perseverance. —J. K. Rowling
Back in 2015, I projected I’d have the second book in my Chronicles of Aden Weaver series, out by Christmas, 2016.
By mid-September of this year, I began to worry. ‘The Sasori Empire’ would not be ready for Christmas. I knew I hadn’t sweated over the story enough, yet. It hadn’t caused me to lose a few pounds in sheer, gruelling, nose-to-the-grindstone, all-hours-of-the-day-and-night hardship, yet.
The story still had a long way to go.
‘The Sasori Empire’ needed to continue to battle through the torture chamber of editing at my kitchen table, and to undergo at least one or two more journeys through “the grinder” of critique.
At first, I felt intense resistance to the thought of admitting defeat, if I delayed publication. Essentially, it meant I’d have to admit I was wrong. The ego resists being diminished like the dickens.
*Step Back, Breathe
Looking back, I realize, my head must have gotten a bit swelled over self-publishing my first book, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta.’ After thirty years of writing fiction and ten years creating this series, it’s not so surprising. In my enthusiasm at becoming a published writer, I imagined my pace of production would somehow magically increase. I’d be pumping out the novels at the rate of one a year, like the greats. But, no.
I had to eat a dose of humble pie and admit that the sequel would not be out in time for Christmas. Using the initial artwork supplied by my nephew, Si, I made up a poster to announce the delayed date for publication, on social media.
*The Theory of Randomness
Recently, a friend drew my attention to quotes from The Drunkard’s Walk, a book by Leonard Mlodinow. The wonderful quotes reminded me to look at the bigger picture.
‘There exists a vast gulf of randomness and uncertainty between the creation of a great novel and the presence of huge stacks of that novel at the front of thousands of retail outlets (paraphrased). A lot of what happens to us – success in our careers, in our investments, and in our life decisions both major and minor – is as much the result of random factors as the result of skill, preparedness, and hard work.’
This theory reminded me that there is no need to rush anywhere with my writing and my stories. Hard work alone, will not influence the outcome. I should savour the scenery along the way. It helped me to take the foot off the accelerator.
Once I decided to let go of this year’s publication date, I felt better. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I knew that in terms of well-being, it was the best thing I could have done. I was ‘back on track’ with my own timing again. Whew.
I settled back into more reasonable writing hours. I began to sleep better. I was “nice mama” again, and able to be pleasant to other shoppers at the supermarket.
It was as simple as giving myself permission to quit pursuing an unrealistic goal. Despite my initial resistance, I embraced a new goal. I can do the work that needs to be done, on my own terms, in my own timing, while enjoying life along the way. Imagine that!
(Me, with cover artist, SK)
*The “Mission Statement”
One of my writing mentors, Jill Mitchell, is a big fan of “mission statements” for staying on track with our goals.
This is mine:
I always strive to create story in some form. I flow with life as much as possible – therefore, I can change, my goals can change. However, I’m essentially always moving forward with my evolution, learning my craft, becoming a better writer, delivering a better story experience, and as long as I stay true to the creative muse flowing through my fingertips, I’m on track. I am successful.
My goal of putting out the second book in the series will happen, when the time is right. The goal is still there, it’s just farther in the distance. That’s okay.
Leonard Mlodinow posits that random factors act in our lives. ‘That’s why successful people are almost universally members of a certain set – the set of people who don’t give up.’
This adds weight to the wisdom in the idea of persistence.
I persist. What a great mantra – I’m adding that to the list.
When your goal’s a moving target, the best thing you can do is stay the course!
Talk to you later.
Keep on Creating!
Yvette K. Carol
To write simply is as difficult as to be good. – W. Somerset Maugham
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