Last weekend I attended a retreat with other writers. Some of them were rockstars in the business with movie deals and titles on the New York Times Bestsellers List. (Did I do the capitalization thing correctly there?). Others had published one book. Others were somewhere in between.
I fretted about going. Would I walk away feeling bad about my writing life, especially when compared to other authors who are a lot more prolific--and, yes--successful than I am?
But here was my surprising takeaway. No matter where you are as a writer on your writer's journey, you can find something to feel bad about if you choose to.
--You can feel bad that you aren't making money, even if you write the kinds of books that win prizes.
--You can feel bad that you aren't winning prizes, even if you write the kinds of books that make money.
--You can feel bad that your debut novel didn't earn out its advance and so now publishers are unwilling to take you on.
--You can feel bad if you've had a relatively long career but still have to pitch your new manuscript like you've never been published before.
--You can feel bad if you read reviews on Goodreads and people say you suck.
What interested me was how many writers there kept saying they wanted to find a way back to the joy they used to feel when they wrote. I didn't expect to hear that, since some of these people are the very ones living the Writer's Dream.
My point? Or points?
--It's easy to feel isolated in all kinds of ways when you write, and when you feel isolated, you start imagining that someone somewhere is doing everything a whole lot better than you are. And they probably have cuter shoes than you do, too.
--It's human nature to want what you don't have.
I walked away Saturday feeling . . . okay. And committed to the idea that first and foremost, a writer's life should bring you at least a little satisfaction.