The saying, “Do what you love and the success will follow,” is always one I’ve heeded, religiously. Primarily because my priority is to do work that I enjoy since I’m going to spend so much time doing it. Writing has certainly led this call for me, though after years of practice, the hankering for further extrinsic reward is undeniable. I’m not sure if that’s necessarily financial as some think it is. It is about public acknowledgement, perhaps, though the numbers of beloved artists who are satisfied with their work are probably equal to those that are dissatisfied.
I often wonder about motivation for my fellow writers--I don’t get people who want to write because they want to make a best seller list (which seems equal to thinking you could win the pick six). I don’t get people who want to write though they don’t like to read. It’s as if everyone wants to be a writer, as if it’s been glamorized beyond recognition. For the longest time, everyone wanted to be an architect, or at least this is how it was reflected in Hollywood screenplays.
I know that, in 2010, I’m still deepening my practice, I’m still learning and loving the work, the craft on the page, the music and conceptual frisson that can be found, and deployed, in a long work of fiction. It’s the life of the mind, still, just as it was for me seventeen years ago. I don’t expect a huge success, but the incremental one has been encouraging and rewarding. I’m reminded of when, four years ago, my college advisor tried to level me a bit with what he presumed to be my false ambition; no matter what, I still appreciated that honest advice, though his cautionary reaction was more fitting advice to someone who hadn’t struggled at something that he was going to do no matter what reward he got out of it.
No matter what one talks about in the pursuit of a writing career, there is no field I know that has so many naysayers who don’t want you to have this thing you are passionate about on your terms. Unfortunately, these are often the gatekeepers; fortunately, they’re not all naysayers. All of these naysayers can’t take the love of the writing away, and I’m confident I’ll outlast so many of them that I won’t eventually care anymore.