I spent a lot of time worrying about what I was going to do for NaNoWrite this year. In the middle of October, I was still whining about being unprepared. I rarely suffer from “a failure to focus” in my chosen profession, but there I was. October rolled towards its conclusion, and I had gone from whining to babbling and back again. I have a couple stories in my head and I want to tell them, but I wasn’t ready and I didn’t know why. I just felt stagnant and lost.
I’ve had to work at a lot of crappy jobs in my life, but I decided that once I turned 50, my job was to make myself happy by doing something I really liked doing. So we set ourselves up to live within our means and only work at things we liked. I became a full time writer less than three years ago. As often as I remind myself that the point of what I do is not to sell books –it’s still in the back of my mind. My books are not big sellers. I move a few here and there and they pay for my manicures. Hopefully, someone out there likes what I write and they tell a friend, share it on Facebook, or even write a review. I occasionally have days when I wonder why I bother to publish, or if anyone would notice if I didn’t.
But then, someone reminds me that what I do matters to other people too. That my work and my words not only entertain but may actually have an impact. That in a world where we dash from thing to thing, some people still take the time to sit and read a book. They take life lessons from the characters who face challenges, they remember when they were young, strong, and vital, when they were part of something that was bigger than themselves, and they relive that special moment when it all clicked and they knew they’d found the right person.
And when they tell me these things, I can go back and read my work with a different frame of reference. It’s then I realize that in just trying to tell an interesting story, I may have captured something special. It truly no longer matters whether I meet some self-imposed word count goal or whether I sell another damn book. The goal was to write something of value and entertain my friends and myself. I’m meeting my goals.