Didn’t Feel Like It

Yesterday, with my Taxi Hat firmly atop my head, I asked my DD how her friend’s solo audition had gone.  Friend wants to be a singer.  She takes lessons, plays guitar and has a beautiful voice.  Not to mention she’s cuter than a mushroom button and has a great personality.  If anyone has the whole package from this tiny, little blip on the map, she does.

DD responded, “Oh, yeah, she didn’t audition.”

The reason: she didn’t feel like singing yesterday.

My other Taxi Passenger, DD’s 13 year old friend, said, “Well, what’s she gonna do when she’s all famous and has a show scheduled?  Not perform because she doesn’t feel like singing that day?”

Anyone with a dream can learn a lot from my young Taxi Passenger. 

Dreams can be realized with hard work, practice, patience, perseverence and putting ourselves out there.  We have to make our passions a priority.  (Wow, talk about alliteration!)  Everyday.

Some writer’s get fiesty when they believe their fellow scribes are not willing to put in the time, yet insist on instant gratification without the work.  In a recent discussion, one asked in this paraphrased kind of way, “If I was a dentist could I just shrug and tell my patient, oops, guess I don’t feel like drilling today?” 

Of course not.  We expect everyone else around us to be professionals, yet in the back of our minds, we may still prescribe to the romantic notion of the mysterious writer in the smoking jacket, penning The Great American Novel on a scrap of toilet paper.  Those days are long gone, my friehnds. 

What separates the wanna-bes from the professionally aspiring writers is the ability to write, edit and submit–even if we don’t feel like it.

There is a huge, slushy mess of a problem when so many people want to be writers without putting in the time.  Slush piles can grow so large that editors and agents cannot possibly read every submission that comes their way.  For many agencies and houses, this has created a closed submission policy.  Some publishers only want agented work.  Agents only want referred clients.

Hmmmm.  Hard to break in.

Yet, I also feel a stirring of hope.  While the odds are something crazy (and yes I’m totally making it up based on something I read and kind of remember) like only 1-2% of all submissions actually get published, I firmly believe that professionally aspiring writers must somehow be in the top 5% of submissions.

Dreams can be realized for those who put in the time.  With hard work and practice, we hone our craft and become better writers.  With patience and perseverence, we can stay ahead of those who give up when they don’t quite feel like writing.  

And that leaves putting ourselves out there.  It means standing up to the microphone and letting the world know that we have what it takes to be an author.

The road is not smooth.  But that’s okay, very few people in life ever skate to greatness without making their passion a priority.  Funny how my young Taxi Passenger knew that when we adults struggle so hard to grasp it.

Do you believe she’s right?  Is it possible in this day and age of chaos, over-booking and multi-tasking to put our passions at the top of our lists?  What obstacles does this mindset create and how can we overcome them? 

warm fuzzies on a snowy, blowy morning~ cat

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13 responses to “Didn’t Feel Like It

  1. It is very strange, ma’am, how you seem to be reading my thoughts these days. I have been mulling over the bizarre intersection between motivation, inspiration, and plain old hard work for several days, and pondering a post on the subject, but my thought process has been disorganized.

    Maybe the reason my thoughts are moving in this direction is that I’m trying to create a sane-yet-productive rhythm for my days, trying to make writing a daily habit rather than obsessing over it and then neglecting it for weeks at a time.

    Inspiration is great, but plenty of the writing road is about showing up at the page, as Julia Cameron puts it in “The Artist’s Way”.

    But get outta my head, wouldja? 😉

    • Never!

      I had such a great routine down during the first half of NaNo (til the great blog crash of NaNo09). Write. Work out. Blog and other fun social networking, then back to writing. Wrap up around 3ish and spend time with the family. Wake and repeat.

      The only interruption in this routine was my day job, but since I’m an independent, I could mostly plan work for the afternoon when it wouldn’t interfere with my writing. I hope to keep this routine going because it worked beautifully–got me great word counts and productive days without cutting into my home life.

      I hope you find your daily routine, because dabbling doth not a writer make. And you are too good at it to forgo showing up on the page!

      • Part of the challenge is fooling myself in to not feeling like I have as schedule I have to stick to. I am rebellious by nature, and any time I institute a rule or schedule for myself, I seem to immediately want to break it. But I do seem to respond well to the timer and the “word sprint” (or in this case, intensely focused editing session), so I’m working on using that to help myself be more consistently productive. I’ll get there!

        It really helps to have friends who will harass me if I slack off . . .

      • Everybody needs a good harrassing every now and then!

        It’s nice to see what works for some people and not for others. We are so different in our approaches to writing. Probably why there are so many different novels…

  2. Very well said, Cat!

    It’s the ‘sticking-to-it-even-when-I-don’t-want-to’ that may put us over the top. Or better yet, in print! 🙂

    • TK, sending you boatloads of stick-to-itiveness!

      Someday, we shall pull out our inspirational posts and share them with the interviewers when we hit the NYT Best Seller List!

  3. You smashed that nail on the ol’ noggin, cat.

    My first few months out of college, when I thought I’d try to be a full-time writer, I realized that I put more time into exercising than I put into writing. I was more likely to become a gym rat than a writer. I’m proud to say I’ve put on a lot more weight since then.

    Keep writing!

    • LOL, Matt!

      Everything has its tradeoffs. I’ll have to try that line on my DH, though I don’t know if he’ll appreciate it!

      Out of curiosity, do you find a difference between your other writing and trying your hand at full length fiction? Do they require different skills?

      Thanks for stopping in.

  4. I agree – perseverence is the key. We have to really work and really want it if we have any chance of success. Great advice 🙂

    • It is good advice. I’ll have to let my Taxi Passenger know how astute she is.

      I’m just proud of my cyber friends,, who have the gumption to succeed. Watching that happen will be almost as magical as finding my own writing in print.

  5. Henry Miller said: ‘When you can’t create, work’. And Agatha Christie said, ‘write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing and aren’t writing particularly well.’

    Great post, Cat – the show must go on, guys!

  6. Pingback: Inspiration, Perspiration, Motivation; or, Our Heroine Gets Over-Excited, and Occasionally Swears « Greenwoman

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