I have publication envy.
Talking to another writing friend recently, I discovered I was taking the joy out of writing for myself. Looking at the success of others was making me a
|photo by mikekingphoto|
After this conversation was over, I began thinking: what is my "finish line"? What kind of goals am I chasing?
Looking at the never-ending list of another writer's publication credits makes me a little envious. A couple of my friends need an extra front page on their blog so all their published stories can be listed. You want to read where their pieces can be found? Get a glass of iced tea and sit down, 'cause it's gonna take a while.
When I hear of a friend's story getting accepted--and I had sent a memoir to the same anthology and yet heard nothing--I am genuinely happy about their success. Really, I am. But a small part of me thinks, 'Shoot. Another one of mine that didn't make it.'
But in actuality, the joy I find in writing does not have publication at its core. Oh sure, it's a great feeling when a story is accepted. It's even greater when the story is accepted and pay's involved. And when the accepting anthology/magazine is enjoyed by readers all over the country...that's like icing on the cake.
However, what really gets me jazzed is getting something
Last night we were driving home from visiting our granddaughter. Okay, my husband was driving and I was reading-napping-keeping him alert and awake with disco music. It was a 14-hour trip--a long day on the road.
At one point I was in the passenger's seat contemplating a habitual gesture one of my characters might develop. I was staring off into space; my fingers were slightly fluttering in front of my face.*
That's what brings me joy. Getting into someone else's head. Trying to flesh out a fictional character, put some meat on their bones and bring them to life. That is fun...
I cross the finish line each time I revise a piece so that the beginning hooks the reader. I cross the finish line every time I write and work on a story until it's completed. I cross a finish line every time I hit the "submit" button--even if it doesn't get accepted.
Do you have p envy--and if so, how do you wrestle it down to the ground?And more importantly, what joy do you get out of writing?
* (When I did this, my husband asked me what I was thinking about/doing. I told him, "You wouldn't be interested." He insisted he was indeed interested. When I told him, "I'm writing a story about Bigfoot, and was thinking about what nervous habits/gestures he might develop," his eyes glazed over, and he reached over and turned up the volume on "Boogie Wonderland."
Next time, maybe he will listen to me.)