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Writing Is a Long Game

I’m always surprised to hear of people choosing to be writers, who have a story to tell but don’t necessarily enjoy the process of writing. For me, writing has always been an escape and a relaxation.

Sure, some things are hard or boring to write. I hate writing about emotions, for example. But even as a child, I imagined stories to entertain myself when there was nothing else to do (picture little Naomi on the deck of a boat, with no other children in sight).

I don’t remember ever thinking, I’m going to be a writer. What I do remember thinking was, I’m going to be published! To me, that’s something different.

I bring this up because deciding to strive for being a published writer attaches anxiety and insecurity to the act of writing. It also attaches longing. I long for success.

I long to feel legitimized so that I can openly write to my heart’s content without feeling like I should be earning more money or cleaning something.

That’s because writing is a long game. Writers stuff and stuff and stuff the funnel, and what dribbles out of the other end is often a litany of rejections. So much so, that we can overlook our successes, because they take so long to manifest.

I received two rejections this week: one for a story that I don’t even remember submitting, and the other for a piece that I spent a lot of other people’s time, and even more of my own, preparing. That one hurt.

And it’s been so grey. And I’ve felt tired. It’s easy to begin resenting the game, the striving, the longing…

And then I went on Facebook and saw a message from a group I’m in—a group of authors whose stories were accepted to an anthology due out next year. It had been so long since my story was accepted that I forgot to be excited about it! Can you believe that? The nerve of me.

It was a good reminder to myself that if you choose to play a long game, you have to remember to focus on the wins and forget about (and/or learn from) the losses. Because at the end of the game, you will be victorious.

Springtime is around the corner, folks, so hang in there!

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