"We need to give ourselves permission to act out our dreams and visions, not look for more sensations, more phenomena, but live our strongest dreams—even if it takes a lifetime."
~ Vijali Hamilton ~
~ Vijali Hamilton ~
This is a rant I could preach for weeks. I've preached it as a parent, as a grant consultant, and now, I preach it most loudly as an author. We do not take time to accomplish our goals anymore. Instead, we rush. And for some reason, we've taken a selfish stance that we are entitled to rush. Then in the end, we feel we deserve the same attention as those who took their time to achieve success, as if our short-cut was smart enough to take up the slack.
Oh snap, huh! Hope got up on the wrong side of the bed today! Nope. Like writing for no money, this is a point I feel passionately about. We need to take time for things that matter most.
Let's bake a cake. How do you start? You grab a box that says yellow cake mix. Um...no. You pick up a can that says white frosting. Um...seriously, absolutely not. Well, if you're making a cake for a not so important event, maybe. But if this is a wedding, an anniversary, a huge birthday, a memorable event, you wouldn't dream of a box cake. You make it from scratch. And if you can't make it yourself, yet have the design sketched out along with the flavors you must have, then you hire it out to someone noted for baking the best cakes.
In other words, you want this cake to matter, be memorable, melt in someone's mouth. You want people to ask you the ingredients and marvel at the unique idea.
When we throw a book together in two months, edit it in a week, format it in a day, and throw it up on Amazon, we're looking at a box cake. It serves a purpose. It doesn't taste bad (hopefully). But it's forgotten as soon as it's consumed. "How was the cake?" "It was all right."
As writers, we hope to become the authors we've come to know as household words. But the work that goes into becoming so successful is phenomenal. It isn't accidental. The talent isn't karma, or stars aligning up at the right time. It's sweat, it's development, it's a fight to improve, and a drive toward excellence. Not a drive to hold a book.
When somebody says they can't wait to hold a book in their hands, I question their motive for writing. The quest is to make a mark on the world with a story that nobody else could have woven so well. Even if it's the only book you'll ever write, it's remarkable. Not one anyone could have mixed together from a box on the shelf.
Be patient. Learn your craft. Invest years into delivering your best. Instant gratification is just that, instant. It’s not an investment of your best. It’s not long-lasting.