Advice, Doubt, Goals, Life, Motivation, Publish, Tips, Writing

A view from the train of eternal optimism …

In a typical week, I may spend as little as 30 waking hours in the company of another human and 14 of those are on Sunday. I might live on the extreme edge, but it’s the nature of writing that requires we spend a good deal of time alone. Some of you are able to write in Starbucks—I stand in awe—but I must write in isolation, and yet, I don’t feel isolated at all.

Through a kind of magic I don’t attempt to understand, I’m connected to The Internet. That situation is both good and bad for a writer. Good because I’ve found a lot of other writers more or less as isolated as I am, which is a joy; I’m able to do a lot of research for writing projects without leaving my seat; and I can learn about the publishing business—but  that last one can also be a bad thing.

When I started writing seriously, I did so in a state of ignorant bliss. My train of thought rumbled along this track: I love books … I can write … I’ll write a book … I’ll get it published. As simple as that. And so it began. Sometime during the writing of my first novel, I realized I didn’t know how to write as well as I thought, so I bought a book on writing, then another … or six. But still, I didn’t know anything about publishing, and though I had an internet connection, I never thought to research that aspect. Or maybe at that time, agents, editors, and publishers had not yet availed themselves of the technology. Whatever. I remained blissful.

Then, real life interrupted and I, for the most part, let my writer’s life slip away. When I returned to it, I discovered that agents had blogs, editors had websites, and magazines published digitally. My writer’s world had opened up. Unfortunately, this new fount of knowledge informed me it doesn’t matter how much you love books, or that you can write—or even write well—your chances of getting a book published are slim to none. POP! My bliss bubble burst.

And yet, I continue to write with the goal of publication. As you may know, if you’ve followed this blog awhile, it’s not easy for me to maintain a balance between adequately informed and blissfully ignorant. (Witness: Beware the Blue Muse.) In fact, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But what else can I do? My train hasn’t reached its destination. I love books … I can write … I’ve written a book … I’ll get it published. Miracles happen.

If you’re riding this train with me, how’s the view from your seat?

Photo credits: Richard Heeks – Richard Heek’s photo stream at Flickr

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13 thoughts on “A view from the train of eternal optimism …”

  1. The view from my seat is sometimes breathtaking, sometimes zipping by too fast, sometimes discouraging, but for the most part, I keep my eyes focused inside, staring at my laptop. I watch letters, words, sentences, paragraphs and pages appear on the screen, expanding my mind enough to let me know I’m on the right train. 😉

    Enjoy your ride!

    Focus is good. It’s an interesting ride at this point, but I’m looking forward to when it gets exciting.


  2. As much as I would love to get published, I love writing more. If you told me today I had zero chance of getting published I would still write.
    I am on that train with you and I’m thoroughly enjoying the view.
    Miracles do happen –Believe!
    I can’t wait to walk into Barnes and Noble to buy your book.

    Oh, I love writing too, Dayner. I would hate to have to write, if I didn’t. And I do Believe, which reminds me of the documentary on Eddie Izzard by the same name.

    Wow! That’s two advance sales already. 🙂


  3. Ah, that happy medium between bliss and fear, between knowing and unknowing. Maybe it’s just stubbornness, eh? Either way, press on, locomotive, press on! Ride the rails until the end whither we crash and explode or slide to a safe landing.

    Ride the rails, clickety-clack, clickety-clack….

    I don’t expect an end to the rails. I will write forever, even if I end up writing only in my head, and publication of one novel is only a stop at one depot, the rails continue after that. It’s just a bit harder, knowing what I know now.


  4. Writing is the first love that drew me into this landscape of words. As I travel along the tracks safely stowed away inside my electronic world, I look out on this beautiful scenery and sit in awe.

    What started as a lonely journey has grown into world of community and unbridled self-expression. Although publication is the pinnacle of a writer’s success, I discovered how to express myself, my beliefs, my hopes, and even my fears with the power of words. This has brought me joy beyond belief. Should I never acquire an agent, never sign a deal, and never see my words progress beyond the tattered pages of my solitary original copies, I would not, could not, ever stop writing.

    The ride is the journey I have grown to love. Reaching the end, the station of a published writer, will only lead me to the ticket window to purchase another ride.

    I agree entirely, Darksculptures. As I said to Darcknyt, publication of one novel is only a stop at a depot, and then the train moves on toward the next stop.


  5. just. keep. writing.

    Beyond that, I simply don’t know. I’m not sure why getting published is such a big deal — though I know it is. I just don’t know WHY.

    Natasha, I wasn’t sure if you were saying you have no goal of publication and don’t understand why it’s a big deal for those who do, but for me it will be validation. Plus, though I’ve done it for most of my life, it seems that telling stories only to myself is a little like insanity. So I guess publication will also make me feel a bit more sane.


    1. I wrote that kind of fast…. I DO think getting published is a big deal, and it is a goal of mine. But I don’t completely understand WHY it’s important. I know external validation is part of it, but only part of it, and I wonder what other components tie into it.

      It’s complicated, I think is the answer.

      I’d be happy to hear your reasons, if you figure them out.


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