Why I’m Thankful For the Journey

I know we unpublished writers spend most of our time thinking about our hopes and dreams. We can’t wait to someday get that call, have that conversation, do some crazy celebrating, get that other call, do even more wild celebrating, and eventually see our books on shelves. We anticipate being able to make words our main focus, going on book tours and speaking at schools, and not getting out of pajamas for days at a time.

Well, maybe the last one is just me.

But I feel like sometimes we forget how precious each phase of our life is. Just because you’re not yet in the place you dream of being doesn’t mean this point in time, this experience that you’re having, is meaningless. With that in mind, here are five reasons to be grateful for this stage of of the writing journey.

1) There’s no pressure.

You haven’t made the bestseller list. You haven’t packed out a Barnes and Noble reading. You haven’t sold movie rights. So basically, no one except you is expecting anything from you, and whatever you do next will be your greatest accomplishment.

2) Write what you like.

You don’t owe anyone anything. Nobody is demanding you next write a YA sociopath hero who lives in an igloo and is a ballerina for a company housed on an ice floe. But nobody is saying you can’t, either. You get to write what you like, what you’re passionate about, what’s inside of you, and if you get fifty pages in and hate it, you have the full freedom to change courses.

3) Community

There are so many other writers on this crazy journey, too! At all stages of the game – from just typed their first Tweet to owns stock in a coffee company and has an entire shelf of old manuscripts, we’re in all places and all levels of experience and it’s now, before the agents and the book deals and the busy careers, that you can really dive into the learning and growing and sharing. I don’t mean to say whatsoever that you won’t continue sharing and developing relationships once you’re an author, but your time will naturally be more limited, and you may be restricted in some respects by legal guidelines. Right now, you can do as you like.

4) Who do you want to be?

Right now is the time to decide how you’re going to brand yourself and what you want to be known for. Once you’re an author and people start recognizing your name, you better know what you want to stand for and what things are most important to you. Now, at the beginning, you have time to decide what’s in your wheelhouse and what isn’t so much; you get to choose if you want to be peppy or shy or sweet or ridiculous. (That last one you don’t choose. It chooses you.) You might not have an opportunity to remake yourself, so be glad for this quiet place now where you can make a deliberate decision about who you are.

5) Hope

Right now there are endless possibilities. Any day could be the one where you get an email, a phone call, an announcement. Every story about these things is beautiful and amazing and exhilarating, and no one who has such a story would ever trade it. But there’s only one very first time. Only one beginning. And once it happens, there will be other things to celebrate, but you never get that back. Yours is coming. You just have to be patient, enjoy the now, and keep your chin up, waiting.

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