Monday, April 8, 2013

Is It Worth It?

Okay, sometimes I wonder at things. Most recently, I've been wondering if this publishing thing is worth the time and effort I've previously put into it. Notice I didn't say writing. I do love to write, and often I have a side project that I pour my energy into that no one will ever see. I don't want anyone to see those things.

But sometimes I wonder if pursuing publishing is worth what I'm sacrificing. Sometimes I wonder if the emotional investment I'm depositing is too much. Sometimes I'm eating dinner with my family, but I'm thinking about publishing. I'm obsessing over publishing. What makes my day "good" or "bad" is dependent on what publishing news I've had--or haven't had.

I feel like I've achieved some level of balance between my real life and publishing in a physical sense. But in an emotional and mental sense, I fear I am still far too focused on publishing. And I'm wondering: Is it worth it?

What are your thoughts? Tips on achieving mental/emotional balance with this publishing roller coaster?

27 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

I'm going through the same struggle at the moment. No matter how much I force myself to stay away from the work PHYSICALLY, I can't stop my brain from constantly ticking over this that and the other. It's never-ending and sometimes I just want the noise to stop. Problem is, just having a physical break from it all doesn't stop the mental noise. It's tough. I wish I had answers ...

Yvonne Osborne said...

I guess only you can say. Do what you love and steer clear of the barbed wire. Writing is the fun part and when I first started I thought it was the hard part.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sometimes,when things aren't going so well with my writing, like the agent at WriteOnCon not liking my story even though everyone in the forum really helped me with my query and I liked it, I'm in agony and seriously wonder why I spend so much time on writing and blogging. Life would be so much easier and I'd have so much more free time if I wasn't driven to write and try to get published. So yeah, I know what you mean.

Jemi Fraser said...

It's tough call. Obviously you love to write (and are damn good at it!) but tht's not the part that's driving you nuts. You can't let it such you dry and hurt you emotionally. You have so many great many parts of your life you don't want the worries to overtake you. Hope you find what works for you! *hugs*

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Like everyone else, I'm going through this too. I'm starting to even dream about it. You know, the dreams that border on nightmares. But that doesn't mean I'm going to quit, it just means I can't make it my main focus in life.

SA Larsenッ said...

I wish I had advice for you. I do believe it's worth it, but I have wondered the same thing. Writing is my personal therapy; I couldn't do without it. It's the other aspect, the 'sharing of work' that can become gyrating and sometimes downright disturbing to my emotional state. Each time I get 'there' I must step back and find that love and passion again--the L & P that guided me to this place.

Angela Brown said...

The only tip I can offer is continue to hold on for the roller coaster ride.

I suppose I more experienced person would recommend fragmenting you mind and focus on the moment when you're in that moment. Focus only on family while with family. Things like that.

I'm not sure how to do that yet myself. So as you go along, know that you've got countless others beside you learning to strike that proper balance physically, mentally and emotionally when it comes to publishing and all the many other important things in life.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I know what you mean. I have to be careful when I talk with others--especially nonwriting others, whether family, friends, or coworkers--that I just keep my mouth shut about what I'm really thinking about.

AE Rought said...

I'm with you, E. The business side is overwhelming, and can be a parasite on the rest of your life. I love to write, it's part of what make me who I am. But I'm finding the rest of it invasive and overshadowing at the same time.

AE Rought said...

I'm with you, E. The business side is overwhelming, and can be a parasite on the rest of your life. I love to write, it's part of what make me who I am. But I'm finding the rest of it invasive and overshadowing at the same time.

Teresa Coltrin said...

I think you already have the answer. Publishing needs to be put it's appropriate place. :)

But, don't stop!

Jessica Nelson said...

I don't have advice but I do know publishing doesn't consume me. I don't think about it all the time.

I think, like Teresa said, you already realize that it's taking space it shouldn't.

Maybe try to get the core of why you want it so much? If you know your reasons for wanting it so badly, you may be able to redirect yourself?

All I know is that these moments with my family may never come again but the writing will always be there. My imagination will always be with me, but my kids will grow up and move away.

Lots of *hugs* to you as you figure it out. :-)

ilima said...

I have a feeling that if I knew what kind of stress it would bring in my life, I never would have pursued publishing three years ago. I wonder if it's worth it All The Time but feel like--I've come this far, what's a little farther? Urgh.

Liesel Hill said...

I think every writer has felt that, but I would say keep at it. Any job in the world has it's ups and downs and, even if it takes a long time, at some point I think you'll look at your body of work and be glad you didn't give up on any aspect of it. :D

Stasia said...

You said it, sister. I feel this way a lot. I figure my life isn't much different than that of a struggling actor, musician or visual artist. People in these professions are not known for their skills at work-life balance ;) Sadly, I can't stop writing. So I keep doing it. And, since I'm doing it, I figure I may as well try to sell it. Not sure that's great logic. Hmmm...

Barbara Watson said...

I do get what you're saying, although I'm not published yet. But even with writing and the time that takes, I try so hard not to miss out on living. In fact, I have a blog post scheduled (I think next Monday) about this exact thing -- not missing living.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

When I get too anxious about the outcome of something I've written, I pull weeds or trim bushes in the garden. Or I take a long walk. Those things put everything in perspective fore me. They are quiet pleasures that often yield story ideas or scene solutions, and I become more philosophical about the whole publishing thing.

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

Oh please Elana. As a writer you know that you really have no choice but to tell the stories or they'll burst out from inside you in untold ways. Publishing allows you the means for those stories to be read. So again, I think if you take a look at it, you really don't have a choice but "to publish." And when there's no choice in something, you pretty much just gotta go with the flow. There's no putting the cream back into the cow once she's been milked.

Rebecca said...

Maybe this will change once my book is published, but...

in my years of pursuing publication I have learned a pretty basic truth. For me, emotional contentedness has very little to do with what publishing news I receive on any given day, besides the initial, temporary high or low that comes from receiving news of one kind or another.

That said, I do sometimes find the process of seeking publication exhausting. But I'm still at it, so it's definitely worth it to me.

Cynthia Lee said...

I used to feel the way you've described, a few years ago before my son was born. But I don't anymore.

Not exactly sure what happened. I read more and more about traditional publishing, all the things that can go wrong, and I decided that my peace of mind was more important than anything else so I stopped pursuing it. Ever since then, I've been able to totally compartmentalize and I've been much happier. I leave thoughts of publishing for the hour a day I use to write and that's that.

I can say, in all honesty, that I don't give a crap what anyone thinks about my writing (except for the people I know personally that I rely on for their advice or whatever). That's a great feeling for me!

I guess that maybe sounds harsh or whatever but it really isn't. At least, I don't feel harshly about it.

I think I'm rambling, not exactly sure what point I'm trying to make.

I should add that I am not now, nor have I ever been traditionally published. I'm sure that makes a big difference. :)



Cheree Smith said...

I'm going through this at the moment and sometimes it's easy to forget to schedule "real life". I find that when everything does get overwhelming it is easy to just take a break and spend an afternoon curled up watching movies or go for a walk just to get away from the rollercoaster.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Elana, I've experienced those same sentiments -- especially when my whole world revolves around what news I've had (or haven't had). I keep wondering if there will come a point where I feel nonchalant about it. (Oh, look. They gave me the Newbery. Ho hum. -- Bwa, ha, ha. As if!)

It's a roller coaster, but so far my family has encouraged me to keep riding it. Even if it's made me awfully sick a couple times, I haven't tired of it yet.

DL Hammons said...

In some small part I think the answer hinges on expectations. There will always be work and reward, but if our expectations exceed the reward then we end up asking the question you did today.

In my case there's too many unanswered variables to give a response.

June G said...

I've certainly taken a break! I still love to write, but there are so many other things I want to do, I had to come to terms with the fact I can't do it all---there just isn't enough hours in the day. Getting published has taken a back seat for now.

I think about it often, but I have to set priorities---and getting published isn't as pressing as it used to be. After all, there are people in the world living miserable and desperate lives. They wish all they had to concern themselves with is getting a book deal.
Recognizing that helps me keep the right perspective.

It's not easy though, at times. Social media and the constant, easy availability of publishing news adds to many people's anxiety level. I've stayed off line more,too! Lol...

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Life is short and it doesn't return again. It is slipping away even while I write this and while you read it.

And the one word refrain of the clock is “Gone, Gone, Gone.” There's no antidote to time’s passing. All you can do is live fully in the moment.

At the end of the day, your family will not care how many books you have written but many hugs you gave them, kisses on skinned knees, or a smile when their lives were dark.

I believe that there is one battle in this world, and only one.

People are caught, in their lives, in their thoughts, in their desires and ambitions, in their greed and cruelty, and in their kindness and compassion, too, in the battle of good versus evil, selfishness versus love.

There is no other battle. A person, after he/she has wiped off the blood and the mud of his life, will have left only the hard questions:

Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well or badly?

Was my life courageous … or was it shabby? I would really hate to end up shabby.

No style in shabby.

But our dreams shape who we are, who we become. So we balance our dreams with the fragile lives of those around us, knowing that the people we love will leave us sooner than we would want.

No answers from me either. Boy, a fat lot of good all these words were, huh? :-)

Amber Argyle, author said...

That's one of the reasons I moved to self publishing. I couldn't handle all the drama and the numbers game and the rest of the crap that comes with publishing.

For the most part, I like it better.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm facing the same crisis at the moment. I wrote about the same subject a week ago. Wish I had the answers.

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