Friday, June 4, 2010

The Writing Life: Making Choices One Step at a Time


I did a funny thing at some point in this writing life. I can’t go into details because, well, I just can’t. But, it seems that instead of going after something that may have meant “more prestige(in some people's eyes)” and “bragging rights” I instead chose the other thing.


I thought and thought on The Bigger Thing and the more I thought of it, the more strange I felt about it. But, when I would consider “the other thing” I felt an ease come over me. Well, there was my answer—except it isn’t as simple as that. For in choosing the other thing instead of The Bigger Thing, I will, or may, miss out on some larger outcomes—money for one.


But does it always have to be about money and More?


Sure, I’d like to make more money; I’d like to be financially independent. I have daydreams of making enough money to buy land around my mountain so no one can develop it ever as long as I live and own it. I have daydreams of helping family. I have daydreams of donating lots of books and money to libraries.


But, and there is that But again, I hesitated on a decision and in that hesitation there was an answer for me, or at least something I needed to consider more carefully.


This writing journey, this life journey, is full of moments of choice. The footprints we leave, and the footprints we follow, and the footprints we want to look back to see where we’ve gone.


I’ll never know if I’d have pursued The Big Thing aggressively if my life would have taken some bigger turn. I am not sure. However, I do know that choosing the other thing didn’t upset me, didn’t make me feel I was less than. I felt a peace with it.


I’ve done a lot of listening to published authors from all kinds of places and all kinds of situations. I’ve learned that more isn’t always better. I’ve learned that having what you thought you wanted isn’t always what you thought you would have. I’ve learned that this business is tough but it doesn’t mean I have to harden myself to it. I’ve learned “be careful what you wished for” really is a true and fitting cliché. I’ve learned that writers are never satisfied, that with each mile they/we walk up a mountain, they/we keep looking up to the top, and the top of that mountain is so very high with clouds and mists hiding what they/we can’t see, and there are many people below and above them/us on their/our way up—and after a while, it becomes about the striving to get to the top and not about how lovely the mountain is, how wonderful it feels to stretch the muscles, how clean the air smells, how nice it would be to talk to the people who the writer passes by or the people who pass by the writer.


So, I’ll keep doing my thing: writing my words, and the rest will work itself out. I’ll make my choices one step at a time and I won’t look back with regret. Looking back with regret is a waste of time and a dishonor to the life we live.


Sometimes it’s really about the journey and not where we end up, because—THERE IS NO END except death. Sometimes it’s just that walking walking walking and seeing what will happen next with a kind of wonder and joy and delight. Sometimes rushing headlong into the wind, or to the top, is a good great thing, and sometimes taking deliberate steps and looking all around and enjoying everything along the way is a good great thing. How we feel about it in our heart of hearts is our answer. How we sleep at night tells us so much.


What about you? Thoughts?


14 comments:

Terri Tiffany said...

Great post! That's exactly how I feel about money and doing things for it. I don't. That's why I have always worked in social service field--not much money but A HUGE amount of joy money can't buy.
I hope you can someday buy that land.I would want that too. I envy where you live and would leave this city in a moment to have it if and when it could ever happen.
YOu made the choice from your heart and that's what counts:))
I have only started the first chapter of your book cause I'm on a deadline to read all my CP's work but it sits by my own feet here in the TV room waiting for me, promising me a fantastic read. Call it savoring the promise:)

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

In my field we say 'the body never lies'. In noticing your body reaction (hesitation, relief) you knew you had YOUR answer. Our minds can come up with a zillion reasons why or why not - our body speaks our truth. How wise of you to listen to the prompts from your body - it was in accord with your fundamental values.

Glynis said...

Timely post, Kathryn. You will see by my post, that I do not think writing is about money. It is about the little things, the things that matter most, and the things that will live with us forever.

Suldog said...

I don't know about work, but when I play ball... well, the important thing isn't the final score, even though that's what many folks remember. The best part of it is actually being in the game, sweating, running, doing the things you enjoy doing. Sure, winning is nicer than losing, but the playing is why you really do it.

Clarissa Jo Fleming said...

I think, Kat, that you have your head snapped on straight, your heart is in the right place, and that you have a most beautiful spirit!

Karen said...

It's never right to do what you don't have peace about. You always live with the choices you make in this life. Good for you for following your heart.

Jan O'Hara (aka hope101) said...

The wisest living woman I have in my life says, "Say no until you have no choice but to say yes." I believe that, mostly because I didn't believe it for a long time and I paid the price. The minute I followed the Yeses, things got a whole lot better.

Lynda Schab said...

Very inspiring post. And much needed for me today. Discernment is not my greatest skill and I often think that, for example, if a nice writing offer comes along, it's automatically God. But I'm learning that if it takes time or focus away from my family and brings stress or anxiety, it is definitely not from God. I just need to discern when it really is a blessing and when it's an opportunity for me to grow in my ability to say "no."

Marisa Birns said...

I have found that if I have to talk myself into something, it never works out well for me. It's in that moment of hesitating where the good answer lies for me if I'm brave enough to listen and follow.

Yes, oh yes, it's really about the journey! Love your sentiments that we walk walk walk and live with wonder and joy and delight at everything we see and feel. Even the sad things. Because at the end of it all, it meant we were ALIVE. :)

Rick said...

I leave you alone for a month or two and you've gone serious on me. Anytime I come to visit and you're saying, "...THERE IS NO END except death" I'm going to turn right around, get you a party hat and a water balloon, and then we'll see what's what!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Whatever it is...gut feeling, woman's intuition or constant nagging thoughts...I go with those. Sometimes doing the opposite seems to be the right thing but a wall pops up in my mind and heart and says, "Don't go there!" My experience proves that if it doesn't feel totally right and I'm stumbling, in mind and heart, then stop and turn away no matter how tempting and good it seems.

By the way, I'd love to join you as a neighbor on your mountaintop!

Titus said...

Fabulous post Kathryn. Thoughts? You speak the truth.

Vicki Lane said...

Great post, Kat! It's easy to let 'the writing thing' take over one's life. As you note, be careful what you wish for ...

Deb Shucka said...

What a lovely and thoughtful post. I think when we can truly understand that "there" wherever it might be is never going to be enough, that only here and now matters - I think it's only then we're going to find what we're looking for.