Thursday, April 23, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

You know how to finish it. Say it. Out loud. (Name that movie! LOLOLOL)

Anyway, I digress. This post is going to be a lot of digression, so I hope you're in the mood for some stream of thought writing from el@n@. That's my new name. My sister is certifiably insane. And she did some tweeting yesterday on her name (which has an i, now replaced with an !). Since I don't have an i, she said I could be el@n@. So here I am. kenyit

Anyway, Eric over at Working My Muse gave me this Lemonade Stand blog award. Thanks! I'm supposed to nominate 10 people, and send the award along. I just nominated 15 people for the Premio Dardos award, and I can't even think of 10 more. If I do, I'll post them soon, promise.

So on to lemonade. When life gets you down, what do you do? I try to surround myself with good people. Play a few games (guitar hero) and just forget about whatever is bothering me. Most of my stress is self-inflicted. Do you do this? This self-inflicted stress-inducing?

Ugh. I just get in the way of myself. I have to constantly step back and remind myself that this whole publishing thing is a journey, not a result. Sometimes I find myself frustrated because I'd like to think I'm a pretty smart person. I've worked hard through some stacked odds to get what I want.

And so this whole publishing thing is sort of hard for me. I'm used to working hard, persevering, and ultimately getting what I want. This is a little different than that.

I've decided I'm going to climb into the sidecar of a motorcycle. Remind myself that it's not the end result I'm striving for (but of course, getting published is still The Goal), but it's also the learning experiences along the way. The writerly people I get to interact with. The new novels I get to read. And write. Sometimes I think all I'm focusing on is the lemons and not the lemonade. Being the driver and not the rider. Achieving The Goal and not enjoying the How.

So a new sidecar goal to go with The Goal: enjoy the ride. I'm imagining myself in one of those sidecars on a motorcycle. I don't have to drive. I don't have to watch the speedometer, the upcoming curves in the road, the weather. I can look for those purple blossoms on trees, seagulls flying, deer in the meadow, whatever. I can enjoy the ride.

I've got my helmet on, ready for the rejections and critiques. I've got the goggles strapped in place--hopefully they'll help me see clearly who to listen to, which agents to research and query, and what to write. I've got the leather chaps, waiting to protect me if I happen to crash and burn.

I'm ready to enjoy the ride. Are you?


Annie Louden said...

Nice analogy. Maybe I will mentally steal your mental device for my own mentality.

And I know all about getting in your own way and self-induced stress. Believe me.

And feel good about yourself! You've gotten FAR more writing and publishing goals accomplished since you've taken up this journey than I have in the many, many years I've wanted to do this. From my view, your sidecar is zooming past!

lisa and laura said...

Love the sidecar analogy. Just enjoy the ride, right? Easier said than done....When first started writing we tried to temper our expectations and made every attempt to downplay full requests, good critiques and etc. But then we realized there's going to be SO many disappointments along the way, so we might as well enjoy the fun stuff! So now we let ourselves get excited over every little thing, and in our heads we're going to be the next Stephenie Meyers. Dream big, right? We'll deal with the disappointments as we go, but it's not like it hurts any less if you tried to temper your excitement in the first place.

Kathryn Hupp-Harris said...

Personally, I like comedian Ron White's take on when life gives you lemons.

"I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party."

Here's to your writerly journey!

M. Dunham said...

A wonderful post, Elana. sometimes I feel like this current novel is never going to be finished. And then I think about all of the others I'm going to write, and it's like "yikes!" I suffer from self-induced stress. I can write, but when it comes time to edit, that's where the stress comes, because I can't stream of consciousness edit. XD

Danyelle L. said...

For sure. Sometimes it's hard to do though.

*raises lemonade glass*

Here's to enjoying the ride instead of obsessing over the destination.

Does it make me a bad person if one of my first thoughts was: When life gives you lemons, shoot them? ;-)

Michelle D. Argyle said...

I just blogged about this a few days ago and I agree! It is about enjoying the journey, not just the end result. Great thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Nicely said, as always...and yes, almost all of my stress is self-induced. It's part of what makes us good writers - the ability to push and push and push for perfection (kind of a "nature of the beast" thing.)

I have always been one to believe that life is NEVER about a destination. It is the journey that matters - it's the journey that defines us.

So, for this journey and the others yet to come...HAPPY RIDING!!! (and remember, I am always there should you crash!)

Eric said...

Nice post. And I like the sidecar imagery. I don't have a sidecar on my motorcycle (nor would I want one), because I'm such a control freak with my bike. I don't even really like having a passenger behind me. Wait, now I'm rambling and getting way of point. Doh!

Unknown said...

Very nice post! Enjoying the ride? Gosh, first I need a vehicle! lol! Okay, maybe I have some enjoyment issues, but I have awhile before I have to worry about that. I am enjoying the stage I'm at now.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, I so know what you mean. I just posted on this topic, myself, after a few weeks spent in the writing doldrums and tripping over myself at every turn.

When life gives you lemons, hug a dog! Hug a horse! That's my motto. : )

This too shall pass -- it always does. Feel what you feel, because the lessons therein are golden, and when you're through, press on. There are many of us pressing on with you.

(And it's going to make a kick-a** "road to publication" story for you, too.

I mean, what's a good success story without a bunch of twists and turns?)

{{{{{{{{{{ Elana }}}}}}}}}}

Bish Denham said...

Jane Yolen still gets rejections. Her advise is to writers is, "Have zero expectations. Don't dream about winning a Pulitzer, making a hundred thou on your first (or thirty-first) book. don't wirte any acceptance speeches for the three N's: Nebula, Newbery, and National Book Award. Don't plan your outfit for the Oprah show or practice crossing your legs while talking to Katie Couric. Don't expect to find your books piled high at Borders or in the window at Barnes and Noble. Don't search for your numbers. Write the damn story. Nothing else matters." From her book, Take Joy.

Elana Johnson said...

Thanks, guys. I'm feeling the love! And enjoying the ride today. The sun was shining. :-)

Unknown said...

Every writer should read this post, Elana. I think most, if not all, of us are guilty of focusing so hard on the goal that we forget the journey can be fun if we just allow ourselves to enjoy it.

I'll see your lemons and raise you a peach! :-)

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