Jan Fields (cute_n_cranky) wrote,
Jan Fields

Remembering the Good Stuff

It's easy to grow very negative about writing. Revision is time consuming and it's hard to know when you've done enough. Submission is just plain scary -- did you do enough research? Did you avoid doing anything really embarrassing? Then there's rejection -- we crushing part of the writing life. Sometimes I get so caught up in the bad stuff that I actually think fondly of the idea of a full-time job doing something totally uncreative.

Then I remember: I have a LOT to be thankful for. First, I create people. Think about it -- the characters you create in your stories didn't exist before they were born in your imagination and delivered by your writing pen (or computer). Your plumber may make more per hour -- but do they invent new people? I didn't think so. I create interesting, lively, special people that I like hanging out with for the duration of the story.

Second, I was one of those little kids who was constantly being told to stop being such a dreamer and focus on the real world. Now I'm adult who makes a living by being a dreamer and creating my own world every time I sit down at my computer. I've turned the things that drove my folks crazy into an occupation -- how cool is that?

Third, I work with new people all the time. Every time I make a new sale or start a new project, I get to work with more intelligent, creative people in the book publishing business. I've worked with amazing editors. When you're collecting rejection letters, it's easy to imagine the editor at the other end is some cold, cruel entity, but I've had the pleasure of actually getting to know a number of editors. They're lovely people. They love good writing. They truly want to make everything they publish as good as it can possibly be. Now a single one of them gets any joy out of rejection.

Fourth, my daughter still thinks I'm cool. She's thirteen, so that's no small thing. She's still waiting for the day when I'm cool AND famous AND rich enough to buy her those boots she wants -- but still...she is proud of me. What could be better than that?

Fifth, I get fan mail. Because of the sort of writing I do, I don't drown in it like the famous writers, but I still get it. It's amazing to get a carefully hand-written note from a little girl who loved my book. Sure, sometimes they have some odd ideas about how rich I might be or which celebrities I might know -- but that's okay. Those notes can get a person through a lot of rejection days.

Sixth, I work a lot of hours, but they're MY hours. If I need to be at my daughter's school for something -- I go. If she's home sick, I'm here to take care of her. No one looks down on me or questions my "loyalty" to the company because I take care of my family. The bad side of that is that I don't get paid until the work is done -- so there's no paid vacations or paid sick leave for me, but the benefits I do have are pretty awsome.

So on this day-after-Thanksgiving -- I have a job to be thankful for. I'm not rich or famous. Most people don't know my name. I don't get invited to talk shows. But I'm a writer and it's the best job in the world -- for me.

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