By Julie Wright
I've been doing a load of school assemblies lately with the release of the second book in the Hazzardous Universe series, and I play a writing game with the kids to help them understand the basic elements of a story. I take them through the many joys of What If.
The things kids come up with are totally awesome, and I have loved being able to speak to schools almost as much as I love writing itself, but last week a friend of mine said the words, What if . . . and followed them up with a sobering thought.
She said, "What if this is as good as it gets?" This was in reference to our writing careers.
My personal journey as a writer was:
- As soon as I get that first contract--then I'll be happy.
- As soon as I see my name on a book jacket--then I'll be happy.
- As soon as I get on a best seller's list--then I'll be happy.
- As soon as I win an award--then I'll be happy.
- As soon as I get an agent--then I'll be happy.
- As soon as I get published in this new market--then I'll be happy. No wait!
- As soon as I get published in THAT new market.
I only half listened, because I knew my awesome agent would sell my book to one of the big six for a seven figure deal within the month. Two months later, his words sank in. Things didn't happen exactly the way I wanted. Not that bad things happened. I've had two books come out in the last few months and am furiously writing on three new books. But the events weren't exactly as I'd pictured them in my mind.
I've spent a lot of time in the place of, "Well, when THIS happens--THEN I will be happy." I allowed depressions to kick in so hard that I retreated emotionally from my family, my friends, and in many ways from myself.
If this is as good as it gets, and I am still waiting for some enigmatic event to happen to make me happy, does that mean I will never be happy?
Like I said . . . a sobering thought. There are a million reasons standing in our lives TODAY to be happy. We all have families, friends, life around us. What a tragedy if we miss it because we're waiting for some life defining event that we can't guarantee will come. I was so worried about writing life, I forgot to live.
I have a great career. I am fortunate to find success in traditional publishing, and I know it. But this last year has taught me that if this is as good as it gets . . . I am incredibly glad for what it is RIGHT NOW.
And that is enough.
Live in today, my fellow writers. Live and be happy right now.