Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–Expectations

Sarah Fine (blogger of The Strangest Situation and writer repped by Kathleen Ortiz) asks:

Where do your expectations for your writing (career/skill/quality/achievements) come from? Is the source internal, external, or both? And how do you cope when you don’t meet them?

This question is SO pertinent to what I’ve been grappling with over the fall. Like, seriously.

When I first started writing, I did it for the sheer enjoyment. In the back of my mind, I mused about how cool it would be to see my work published, but I didn’t really think it was possible. As I continued to write, I noticed progression in my skill.

Then the craziest thought popped into my head:

I want to be published and I’m going to actually DO something about it!

Gosh, it would be grand to be the next JK Rowling or Stephen King. I also know that’s a looooooong shot. So, to be more realistic, I’d like to see my novels make it to print and I’d like to see a fair amount of people read them.

I do expect to hold a bound novel with my name on the cover. Others have expressed the same vision.

But it hasn’t happened yet.

And that leads to a LOT of frustration for me. So much so, that I contemplated quitting and didn’t write for several months. There’s a natural fallow time for every writer, but this time seemed to be…the end.

It looked like my way to cope was to finally face the “truth” that it wasn’t going to happen and give up.

I thought about that.

And thought about it.

And thought about it.

(I’m a shrink and a bit obsessive, so I thought about it a lot, okay?)

And thought about it.

Finally, I realized that I’d given away control. I’d let the industry dictate how I did things. I let it beat me down.

I’ve never done that before.

Then I remembered that everyone’s path to publication is unique. No way is right or wrong, better or worse, than any other.

For example, I started at a community college, then transfered to a four-year school before applying for medical school. I was rejected the first year (a not uncommon thing). I tried the next year and got in. Medical school was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I persevered. I got my MD. And I did it in an unconventional way. But it’s still an MD.

Publishing my work can be the same. I may not follow the path that most traditionally pubbed authors do. And that’s okay.

…I think I got off track a bit. Pretty normal, considering my general approach to life goals, LOL!

Bottom line, when in the writing game, I think it’s reasonable to expect the unexpected. Ha!

How about you? What are your expectations for writing and how do you handle it when it doesn’t work out the way you envision?

Stay tuned for Lydia’s response next week!

11 comments on “Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–Expectations

  1. Sarah Fine says:

    You helped me come up with that question🙂 I’ve been glad to see you happily editing and writing lately. It’s amazing how our cognitions can influence our energy and motivation, but it sounds like all that thinking is headed in a good direction!

  2. Kendall Grey says:

    I don’t think I’ve met a single writer who didn’t experience the same feelings you’re having. EVERYONE questions their worth as a writer. If they don’t, they think way too highly of themselves and are probably at the bottom of the barrel as far as quality goes.

    I love what you said about “giving away control.” In this cutthroat business, it’s hard not to because there’s so much pressure to traditionally publish, yet very few are allowed to do it. That’s why I’m self-publishing. I’ve never done well with someone else having power over me. Yes, it’s hard work, but the high (and hopefully, the payoff) is unbelievable. This is the best fit for me, and I couldn’t be happier, despite the ups and downs.

  3. Lydia K says:

    You are so right. The path isn’t this pristine perfection of a thing for everyone. You have what it takes, it just finding the right path that’s going to get you there. I know you can do it!

  4. Karen Lange says:

    Expect the unexpected – good policy! I see nothing wrong with going the unconventional route sometimes; I think it is just a creative way to get to your destination.🙂

  5. Good for you, Laura! Publishing is changing so much now, you may find the best way is the unconventional way. Best of luck to you, and never give up!😀

  6. You are awesome!🙂

    I started writing my first novel because I was pissed off. LOL I’d been writing little fanfictions to amuse my kids and my husband kept making snide comments about writing something original I could actually publish. So, I thought about it and the idea popped into my head, and I started writing.

  7. Such an inspiration. I agree that we all travel differently. I’m glad you didn’t give up! =)

  8. I have no expectations in writing anymore other than to just try and get something out there for people to actually read. I personally come from the camp that anyone can be an author. Very few can become New York Times bestsellers. You need to focus on being an author and in order to do that well, be true to thyself. The rest will come. But you have to be patient. The world of publishing moves at a glacial pace.

  9. Krispy says:

    I think the key is to have reasonable expectations, and like you said, to not give up control. I like that way of putting it. It ties so well into the whole unique journey thing, which is also so important to remember. It’s not a race.

  10. I love that you shared your unconventional journey through school to become a doctor. Good example for those of us on this unpredictable writing/publishing path. There is no one formula for success.

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