Sunday, October 3, 2010

First Things First

Last night at nearly 8pm the front of the house was dark when the doorbell did its dingle-dongle.  I was upstairs, busy at the computer.  It might have been a neighbor (who else would call at a dark house so late in the evening?) so I descended the stairs, turned on the porch lights and opened the door.

A young woman unknown to me was standing on my doorstep with a diamond stud in her nose and a clipboard in her hand.

"No," I said, shaking my head and beginning to close the door that hadn't yet made it more than halfway open.

"But I'm not selling anything --"

"I don't care," I said as politely (and firmly) as possible  The door closed.

I gave her a more than decent interval to get back to the sidewalk, turned out the lights, locked the door, and went back to my computer.

I was being reasonable.  It's election season.  Just as I don't buy things from strangers who show up at my door, I don't discuss politics with them either.

I was saving us both time.

If I hadn't been busy at the computer I would have been busy with something else:  busy playing piano, busy talking with my wife, busy reading, writing, painting, exercising, fixing, breaking, tinkering, thinking....

Do you have "spare time"?

I choose not to.  I'm not all in a rush and hurry, but I've always got something to do.

There are lots of distractions in this world.  I've been [I just ran 3 blocks down the street chasing a bunch of teenagers who had firecrackers and a thing for doorbells -- it's a wild night] stuck in my writing for a while now.  For the last year or more I've been distracted by the need to:
  • write something different enough to sell 
  • write something conventional enough to sell
  • write something to catch an agent's eye
  • get an agent
  • get published
  • hold my first novel in my hands
The thing is I don't need any of those things.  I'm not even one of those people who need to write.  I want to write, though, and that's enough.  I enjoy writing, and so long as that's true and I'm able, that's what I'll do without worrying about whether or not it's publishable or attractive to anyone but myself.  I don't know how or when it happened; my writing took a back-seat to getting published.  And I always told myself I wouldn't do that.

Set your own goals.  Keep them in mind.  Put first things first.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard it said, "Write for yourself." "Write what you love." I have to admit, it doesn't work for me. I want to get published, and have been working very hard, of late, to achieve that goal. I love putting words on the page that will hopefully entertain people other than just me. I love telling a story, but I don't always love the step by step details necessary to do it well. Sometimes writing is hard, especially when you're trying to appeal to others. So, now that I think of it, I used to enjoy it much more when I was the only one to read it.