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Being okay with where you are

A few weeks ago, the very wonderful John Anealio wrote a great blog post about getting out of the success grind. What he said made a lot of sense. Sometimes your ego makes the artistic experience painful and miserable, and it’s stupid to turn the joy of our lives into torment. Sometimes you have to change your relationship with your ego to make good art.

This is a lot easier to say than to do. For example, I used to feel like a prolific writer, but I’ve slowed down a lot over the last few years. Sometimes I absolutely loathe myself for writing so slowly–after all, if I was a “real writer,” I’d be cranking out the words. That’s what all the advice tells me I should be doing, from Stephen King’s books to Chuck Wendig’s blog. My pathetic daily word count must be indicative of my weak skills and lack of commitment to the craft. When I hear that a friend has finished yet another book, I want to curl up under my desk and cry.

Sometimes.

But not that often. Only when my ego is shouting too loudly for me to drown out. Maybe writing really quickly worked me before. Right now it’s not, and I can’t change that. I need to push down that ego and focus on the writing.

Sometimes I hate the fact that I’ve never been published by those Hugo-nominated magazines I wish would publish me. It drives me crazy that I haven’t written anything prize-winning or Year’s Best-able. Sometimes I just want to punch myself in the nose for being me and not Kij Johnson.

But only sometimes. Mostly I remember that holding a Hugo award in my hand can’t possibly feel as good as that moment when I’m lost in a story and there’s no time or space except the stuff I’m unfolding in my head.

I’m glad John Anealio has found a way to make his art and life feel even more awesome. I wish more people could take a look at their lives and see so clearly. It’s easy to focus on the publishing deals, the awards, the reviews. It’s scary to look at your self. It’s scary to look at what motivates you to write every day.

When I look at myself, I see a neopro with some short story credits and a book on its way into the world. I have a few reprints. I have a handful of really nice letters from people who have liked my work. It doesn’t look like very much when I type it on a screen, but it’s the tip of my iceberg. Underneath all those achievements is a solid mass of thousands upon thousands of wonderful hours spent writing.

How many people know, absolutely and totally, that they spent that much of their lives doing so much of what they loved? And does anything else really matter?

Suck it, ego. I’m happy being where I am right now. I’m writing. It’s what I need.

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  1. Jeffrey Petersen
    01/08/2013 at 8:12 am Permalink

    High five!

    Keep loving writing. 😀

  2. Ahimsa Kerp
    01/08/2013 at 9:44 am Permalink

    “that moment when I’m lost in a story and there’s no time or space except the stuff I’m unfolding in my head.”
    Agreed! So much agreed. Figuring out a plot point or just plain old writing THE END is pretty damn rewarding in its own right.

  3. A. Taylor
    01/08/2013 at 8:22 pm Permalink

    Having just sold my first short story at age 45, this post couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

  4. R.H. Kanakia
    03/08/2013 at 7:22 am Permalink

    It’s hard. I struggle with this all the time. I especially dislike the way it makes it difficult for me to take joy in my friends’ accomplishments.

Trackbacks

  1. wnwagner 01/08/2013 at 7:12 am

    I blogged about ego & envy over at the #Inkpunks: http://t.co/IF0Lug2TDI

  2. AdamIsrael 01/08/2013 at 7:18 am

    RT @wnwagner: I blogged about ego & envy over at the #Inkpunks: http://t.co/IF0Lug2TDI

  3. krylyr 01/08/2013 at 7:26 am

    RT @wnwagner: I blogged about ego & envy over at the #Inkpunks: http://t.co/IF0Lug2TDI

  4. krylyr 01/08/2013 at 7:29 am

    This post by @wnwagner was just what I needed to read this morning. Being okay w/ Where you Are. http://t.co/AE14z2AbG9

  5. rajanyk 01/08/2013 at 7:37 am

    RT @krylyr: This post by @wnwagner was just what I needed to read this morning. Being okay w/ Where you…

  6. rookberg 01/08/2013 at 7:48 am

    RT @wnwagner: I blogged about ego & envy over at the #Inkpunks: http://t.co/IF0Lug2TDI

  7. inkgorilla 01/08/2013 at 7:49 am

    Wisdom from Wendy over at @Inkpunks today… RT @wnwagner: I blogged about ego & envy over at the #Inkpunks: http://t.co/aa6bEYgnRu

  8. chadwickginther 01/08/2013 at 8:23 am

    Great blog (as always)" over at #Inkpunks @wnwagner: I blogged about ego & envy over at the #Inkpunks: http://t.co/qqfuQq3vwh"

  9. sandrawickham 01/08/2013 at 8:56 am

    A fabulous new #Inkpunks post, by the talented @wnwagner: Being okay with where you are http://t.co/9pBq2zkU7s

  10. inkhaven 01/08/2013 at 9:12 am

    Wendy (@wnwagner) nails it in her new Inkpunks post, "Being okay with where you are" http://t.co/9hGA8pgGBY

  11. christieyant 01/08/2013 at 9:12 am

    Wendy (@wnwagner) nails it in her new Inkpunks post, "Being okay with where you are" http://t.co/WUqUdKUC1j

  12. SarahPinsker 01/08/2013 at 9:20 am

    RT @christieyant: Wendy (@wnwagner) nails it in her new Inkpunks post, "Being okay with where you are" http://t.co/WUqUdKUC1j

  13. remymura 01/08/2013 at 9:36 am

    RT @christieyant: Wendy (@wnwagner) nails it in her new Inkpunks post, "Being okay with where you are" http://t.co/WUqUdKUC1j

  14. lunalindsey 01/08/2013 at 9:39 am

    RT @sandrawickham: A fabulous new #Inkpunks post, by the talented @wnwagner: Being okay with where you are http://t.co/9pBq2zkU7s

  15. SooGuy68 01/08/2013 at 9:45 am

    RT @christieyant: Wendy (@wnwagner) nails it in her new Inkpunks post, "Being okay with where you are" http://t.co/WUqUdKUC1j

  16. Chadwick Ginther 01/08/2013 at 10:29 am

    Chadwick Ginther liked this on Facebook.

  17. Sandra Wickham 01/08/2013 at 10:29 am

    Sandra Wickham liked this on Facebook.

  18. Bear Weiter 01/08/2013 at 10:29 am

    Bear Weiter liked this on Facebook.

  19. erikaholt 01/08/2013 at 10:30 am

    RT @inkpunks: Being okay with where you are: A few weeks ago, the very wonderful John Anealio wrote a great…

  20. CalvinJim 01/08/2013 at 11:16 am

    RT @inkpunks: Being okay with where you are: A few weeks ago, the very wonderful John Anealio wrote a great…

  21. inkgorilla 01/08/2013 at 3:10 pm

    RT @inkpunks: Being okay with where you are: A few weeks ago, the very wonderful John Anealio wrote a great…

  22. traciewelser 01/08/2013 at 6:53 pm

    RT @inkpunks: Being okay with where you are: A few weeks ago, the very wonderful John Anealio wrote a great…

  23. [...] And we leave you with author Wendy Wagner’s advice to be okay with where you are. [...]

  24. […] A few weeks ago (when I was feeling very much in the grind), Wendy N. Wagner wrote about Being…


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