Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Process Analyzed

From time to time I write poems poking fun at what I call The Process. It's my attempt to invoke a bit of humor, satire and fun into this nuts-and-bolts experience of writing.

Even before I began my blog I was toying with the idea of self-publishin an e-book of some sort. I don't think I harbored any hopes of becoming rich, famous or even acknowedged. It was really more of a push to be more than I was being and to indulge my often-neglected sense of creativity.

I realize we all write with our own set of goals in mind. To some, their fondest desire is to achieve either monetary or critical acclaim or both. The pursuit of a dream is a good and noble thing in my opinion. That being said, it never hurts to remember that while reaching for that dream, an important aspect is the journey we undertake to get there.

When I ride along somewhere with my wife driving, I invariably notice things that I don't seem to see when I am at the wheel. While I like to think of this as a tribute to staying focused on the road, I can't ignore the truth that I often rush along ignoring the roses along the way. My goal is usually to get somewhere on time, not to enjoy the ride.

I have also come to reside in a virtual world where I am surrounded on all sides by writers who are at a wide gamut of stages on the road to their dreams. Fascinating indeed to see the forest AND the trees.

I have made the acquaintance of a small handful of financially successful full-time writers. I mean those who manage to support themselves entirely from the proceeds of their writing. To be honest, they are not the norm of those I know.

I have come to know a number of authors who have one (or more) books under their belt and who enjoy critical success. While the money DOES come in, it is not anywhere near making their day job a thing of the past. These are the folks who make up most of my writing acquaintances.

I don't doubt that some of them may well win the prize some day and enjoy the fruits of their labors. But for the vast majority of them that will probably NOT happen. It does guarantee them a better quality of wine to drink while they type. It offers them a wider range of vacation options. At the end of the day though, it is the icing but not quite the cake.

The wise ones recognize that this is the niche they may well remain in. Electronic self-publishing of a book has become commonplace enough that virtually anyone with a PC and some rudimentary skills can now be an "author". Traditional publishers are circling their collective wagons and simply not as willing to commit to talent that doesn't promise immediate sustainable profit. It is an uphill battle that is bound to have its share of casualties.

Then there are another contingent of writers I see who dismay me. I don't interact very much with them. They are those writers who have become slaves to The Process. They set themselves Herculean tasks to accomplish daily. Their schedule revolves around editing, revising, reworking and endless laboring over their writing. They finish every day exhausted and drained mentally, physically and creatively. They push themselves to the point of emotional and even physical pain perfecting their work. They shackle themselves with leaden chains made up of The Process...the mechanics...the regimen of creation.

They remind me of nothing so much as those Sunday night Lifetime movies that tell the heart-wrenching saga of an aspiring ____ (fill the blank with singer, gymnast, dancer, etc) who drives thesmselves so relentlessly that they cease to find any enjoyment or happiness in what was once something they loved.

It is for those writers that I write my less-than-serious verses about The Process. I think it is therapeutic and needful to make time every day to laugh just a little at yourself. It is healthy and necessary to stop and mock yourself from time to time. I like to think I provide some fodder for that.

I plead with all of my fellow writers at all levels of success or setback to remember something FAR more important than you may make the time to realize now. We are the poets and dreamers of dreams!! We are blessed with the imaginanation, the skills and the opportunity to bring words to life! We have the distinction of creating wondrous, whimsical and poignant gems of immeasurable beauty. So I close today with the fervent hope that as you all dream and stretch and reach out for that shiny brass ring that you never EVER forget to enjoy the simple pleasure of riding along on the carousel.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post Jeff! This one should really speak to all writers! No job is worth it when it ceases to be fun. That's when I'll quit.

    But for now, I'm having a blast. And isn't the icing the best part of the cake anyway?