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SWIMMING UPHILL

April 10, 2013

            It’s Saturday morning. A day early for my usual web article brainstorm, but I have to strike while the iron’s hot. Okay, it’s a cliché but I don’t care. It fits. Here’s some food for thought.

 

            As I was eating breakfast, my mind wandered over all the different projects I have on the front middle and back burners right now. Manuscripts at the publishers, short stories in the can, sequels being worked on, the web site, reviews on Amazon, the Observer’s Challenge. More I can’t think of at the moment. The little stuff takes up most of my effort while the big projects aren’t getting much more than nagging thoughts. It seems I’m on the verge of… something big? Something that won’t quite get there.

 

            Am I missing out? Probably. Are you? Are you in the midst of several projects that aren’t quite panning out yet? Have you gone only so far with them but not taken all the steps, not been aggressive enough to get to the top of the game? Are you swimming uphill?

 

            As one example, we have the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference coming up in two weeks. I still have several manuscripts I could be pitching, including two of my icky bugs. One I have with a publisher right now for review. However, it’s been almost six months with no response. I’ve signed no exclusive deal so I’m not committed. Yet, I still haven’t even looked at all the agents and publishers coming to the conference, not since the tentative list was first thrown together months ago. A simple mouse click. I guess I should grasp that brass ring, take that next step, go further than just thinking about it.

 

            Swimming uphill.

 

            We sometimes feel like we’re being pulled in multiple directions but can’t decide which way we should go. Can’t make the decision. Yet at the same time, I don’t have too much to worry about. I’m accomplishing something every day. I’m getting things done. Almost daily I write a review, compose a short story for my web site, edit or write something new from Meleena’s Adventures – Gods Of The Blue Mountains (admittedly still editing stuff already written), work on the Observer’s Challenge and now I’m writing a new science fiction short story for an on-line publication which may or may not pass muster.

 

            I’m constantly writing. However, my big projects, with the exception of Meleena’s Adventures, are stagnant at the moment. That makes me feel like I’m missing out. Like I’m swimming uphill. While I’m progressing one way, I’m not the other, the way that really counts (as far as making any serious money or national success).

 

            Do you feel that way?

 

            Do you have little stuff, or maybe even something semi-big that’s making headway, yet other projects, maybe your main goal is stagnating? Are you being pulled in several directions? Do you feel frustrated because you think you’re missing out?

 

            I think back on a quote someone attributed to Stephen King. Though no fan of his writing, he’s come up with some pretty good writing advice. I think he’s the one that when asked how he got through the writing process, he said “One word at a time.”

 

            That’s all we can do, except when it comes to reaching those goals, the brass rings, so to speak. We can write all day, but to what aim?

 

            Now, before you think this is just a bunch of whining, the point of this is to get you to think of yourself and what you are trying to do. I have these feelings sometimes but there’s the other side of my coin. As I’ve said it before, I write because I love it, not to make money, so in a way, I’m already successful, on a very small scale. This pertains if I want to take it to the next level. National publication and a bit of cash isn’t my primary goal, but it would be nice and is achievable.

 

            I have all that stuff written. How come it’s not out there for the world to see? Because of me, mainly. Swimming uphill.

 

            Are you in that boat yet? Are you advanced enough that you’re in this boat? Are you pulling yourself in multiple directions? Are YOU swimming uphill?

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2013 7:21 pm

    I could write an entire article for a comment, but I’ll try to contain myself. 😉

    This has been a major struggle. An entire herd of wild ideas are chomping at the bit inside my head at any given moment. But I’m learning to stay focused while taming one idea at a time, keeping the rest corralled.

    Years ago I had to go into complete hibernation for an entire month—which turned into four-five months—not even allowing myself to talk on the phone, in order to focus on, and finish, my first book. It was a difficult time at best. A few months ago I started attending guided meditation sessions at a local Buddhist center and what a difference it’s made! Through mediation I’ve learned about letting go of attachment, expectations and I’ve finally, completely, stopped “striving”. I’m learning to manage all those ideas in my head. Best of all, I’m more at peace with just letting them hang out. Maybe I’ll get to all of them during my lifetime, maybe not. Either way, it’s okay.

    Like I’ve said a hundred times before, although I’ve been enticed more than once to try to do it all, I can’t do it all and do any single thing well. Allowing myself the time to do my very best—quality over quantity—is what’s most important to me. 😉

    • April 15, 2013 2:44 am

      Annie,

      Well said! Quality over quantity. You need to focus. I’m able to multitask to a point. Right now it’s trying to decide which big projects to work on at once!

      It’s not so many pans in the fire as which ones to put there.

      Swimming uphill…

      Thanks!

      Fred

  2. April 21, 2013 5:11 pm

    Which projects to choose? I’d say the ones that scream the loudest. For me, since I can’t multi task or write that fast, it has to be the ‘one’ that screams the loudest.

    • April 22, 2013 1:10 am

      Annie,

      I have three to get ready now. Maybe one, maybe all will hit. We’ll see.

      Thanks!

      Fred

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