Yesterday, I sat down to lunch with one of the remaining gaggle of oldsters at the retirement center. I wanted to assess how he was doing after the death of his friend. (Blog 10/29/15) I didn’t have to ask. His eyes told me, he was low. Nonetheless, he turned his attention to me. “How much time do you spend writing?” he asked. I wasn’t expecting the question but I replied I was at my computer 6 to 7 hours each day, including weekends. His eyes popped. “Really? What do you do for fun?”
“Writing is fun,” I replied.
Scribbling is my 4th career but the only one I ever wanted, except for a short flirtation with being a ballerina at age 11. Happily, in my senior years, I can live my passion and, knowing what lies ahead, I have little time to devote myself to anything else. Besides, who would exchange passion for a movie?
As a writer, I’ve accumulated credits. They include 3 novels with a 4th on the way, a dozen sold short stories, a play, recently produced, and a novella due out tomorrow in an anthology entitled Under A Dark Sign. I haven’t had enough successes to cast a shadow, and instead of fans I have loyal friends. I’m good with that but I know the difference between the two. That’s why I work daily to practice my craft. When the breakthrough comes, if it ever does, I’ll be ready. I agree with Woody Allen who said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” (“How to win big—by hanging in there,” by Leslie Jane Seymour, More Magazine, September 2015, pg. 10)
Like that actor/writer/director, I know persistence is a strong element in good fortune. Everyone has talent… everyone! That alone won’t provide a spotlight. People don’t open doors until you’ve cracked them open enough to get noticed. And to get noticed, you have to experience lots of failure. Consider it an education and it’s free.
For nearly 6 years, I’ve been writing this daily blog. My following isn’t enough to attract advertisers – which I wouldn’t welcome—but I go on writing because I love doing it and my readership does grow, one grain of sand at a time.
No, I haven’t made waves as a writer. And I may not have enough time to stand in the spotlight. But the readers I have are precious to me and, I like to think, a cut above the rest. That’s more than enough satisfaction.
My advice to those wanting to achieve is to remember failure isn’t the end game. It’s a bump in the road that educates. In the meantime, following your passion isn’t a bad way to live day by day.
(Originally posted 10/30/15)