Today I stepped outside to sniff the sky, because there is no scent more powerfully nostalgic for me than leaf-damp, mulchy fall air. Fall is my New Year–a time for planting bulbs and seeds in my writing life that will unfurl in the months to come. A time when the blue sky-sunny day magic doesn’t tempt me out so much. I’ll be digging in to new work here soon, and finishing up old work. And, I get to do that in a unique way come Thursday. Tomorrow I fly off (red-eye, yikes!) to a writing retreat where I am the participant. Four days in Vermont with Jennifer Pastiloff and Emily Rapp. I’ll be bringing fresh writing seeds to plant.
It’s been a very exciting few months around here, but, as I told the group of writers who came to hear me talk at the Central Coast Writer’s Conference: anything that looks like “quick” or “overnight” success has been in the works for sometime, I guarantee it. Another phrase I’m fond of is that “everything counts.” This means that those many labors of love you do for free, very little or purely out of goodness, will, in fact, come back to you if you keep at this marvelous maddening experience of maintaining a writing practice.
A writing practice means that you treat all success and “failure” as part of the same animal, neither one better than the other, each with different results. What you perceive as failure may not feel as good as what you see as success, but you need both to grow and see the kind of publication that you can be proud of.
So, I’ll share a few of the fruits of the seeds I planted not just last year, but over these many years, and you, in the comments, share with me, both the seeds you’ve planted and that which has come to fruition. Let’s do this on a regular basis.
This week I got to see the first draft of my cover for A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, which publishes from Writer’s Digest Books in April, 2015 (I’ll share when I’m given permission). This book is literally the product of my own persistence and need. It formed from the mulch of my own despair and discouragement. After years of trying my luck in several realms with lots of “near-hits” I hit rock bottom. Convinced my career was over I asked myself: will you still write? The answer was a unanimous yes. From there came journal entries and blog posts that were as much to cheer myself on as others. It formed the core of my book idea, which I pitched 7 years after selling my first book to Writer’s Digest Books.
This week I also signed my first contract for an essay with The New York Times. I’ll post the link when the essay is live.
What happened for you this week? What seeds did you plant, humble or fantastic? What came to fruition?
If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or sign up for my newsletter. Also check out my books: Night Oracle, Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time and, Forged in Grace. For a dose of optimism, read my column, The Persistent Optimist, at Sweatpants & Coffee.
Photo, “Hand in Hand is the Only Way to Land” by Neal Fowler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License.