No goals, just waystations

Posted: August 12, 2012 in process
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Someone pointed me to what Chris East has written in a blogpost about successful writing not being a single goal but a series of milestones you keep passing without ever finally arriving as a writer.

At one point, East says:

“There is no finish line. If you’re like me, you’ll probably look for one. And occasionally you’ll think you’ve crossed one. But in the end, ‘finish lines’ in this business are illusions, and they only keep moving.”

So that’s my excuse for the long period of no posting here. I didn’t think I’d finished – I was trundling along chasing illusory finish lines that kept multiplying into the distance.

One was the revision of the manuscript I completed. Another was the editing of same. A third and fourth were two journals I had to put together. A fifth was end-of-term stuff to do with written evaluations of the coaching pilot I’ve been running since January. A sixth, ongoing, is my other paid proofreading and copyediting work. A seventh, my clients – and yes, they too require notes written up (sometimes I wonder how many hats I can fit on my head).

But I never stopped writing and yes, Chris, I will never arrive. I realise that now. This is not merely because Cornerstones has my novel sitting somewhere in a dusty corner while the poor editor thinks of a nice way to couch her comments! It’s because I seem to move words around every single day. Lots of waystations. For myself or other people. They never stop. But I always move on successfully.

So I think I CAN justifiably call myself a successful writer, despite chasing that completely wrongly identified “goal” of being a published YA writer.

In the meantime, I really am hoping that the Cornerstones editor will constructively deconstruct whatever she finds wrong with the novel, and that I will find the energy to put it back together again.

But I can’t hang around. I have some graphs to proofread and some commissions to sort out… Would someone please put the flag in the 18th (agent) hole when it comes in sight, so I’ll know where to pitch my ball? I’ve just bought the new Nicola Morgan book so I’ll be ready! Because publishing that particular novel is dear to my heart, even though it’s a mere waystation, not a goal as such, oh no.


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