Monday, October 24, 2011

"Sitting, Waiting, Wishing"*

I've never thought that sitting around wishing for something to happen makes that thing happen. Not that I haven't done my share of wishing on shooting stars, on eyelashes that have fallen out, when the digital clock reads all one number (like at 11:11, for example), on a coin thrown into a fountain, when splitting a wishbone, when blowing out birthday candles...okay, I really don't just sit around wishing on things all day.

Oddly enough, though, a lot of writing is sitting--the old butt-in-chair as you write--is waiting--to hear back from critique partners, agents, or editors--and is wishing--because you've got to have something to keep the hope alive. But you also have to be active too. I need to experience life in order to be inspired while I'm sitting and writing, I need to send out my work in order to wait to hear back, and I need to actively daydream about my life as a best-selling author to fuel all those wishes (okay, that last one doesn't really work, but you get the idea!).

So for that past year or so, I've been submitting my writing more actively than I have in all my previous years as a writer. Some opportunities have come up. And a strange thing happened: I found myself turning some of them down.

It wasn't because they weren't good opportunities or because I had so many offers pouring in that I could just shrug off the ones that didn't give me the most gain. It was because they didn't feel right in my gut. Not that the offers were bad; it's more that they were not the right fit for me at the time. Every time I've said no, it's been very, very hard. What if I never get another opportunity for that piece of writing? What if I never get another opportunity for any piece of writing? Did I just say no to the only chance I ever had as a writer?

The thing I've come to realize is that a single no or a string of noes (I originally typed "a string of nose," which would be an entirely different thing...LOL!), whether it's someone else telling me no or me telling someone else no, doesn't mean the end of my writing career. My career ends when I stop sitting and writing and waiting and wishing.

It just so happens that some 3,120 days since I first conceived of the idea that, yes, I can be a writer for real (this is an estimate because I don't remember the exact date I thought this), a pretty big opportunity has come up. One that I feel is right in my that I am going to say yes to. One that makes me want to climb to the top of my house and shout "YES!" from the rooftop (admittedly, this wouldn't be too hard because I live in a one-story ranch).

So maybe sitting, waiting, wishing worked out okay for me after all. I think I'll go do some more of that and maybe the next offer will be even bigger.

*Jack Johnson