When my wife and I were looking for a house, we decided to get one we could afford. Shocking, I know. What I mean is, we agreed to buy something within our means and have realistic expectations about this purchase. We knew it would be silly to try to have what our parents have now in regards to a house and the things in it as they have had thirty plus years to accumulate them.
That got me thinking. Do I do that with my writing? What sort of expectations do I have for my novel? Are they unrealistic? Do I give myself time to grow and become the novelist I want to be? Or am I working too fast and too hard trying to get there? Do I compare myself with Patterson, Dickens, Rowling or the next millionaire author?
Something to think about.
4 thoughts on “Writing Above Your Means”
Bob, I was just thinking about this too. I just got a collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s previously unpublished short stories. They were the stories that he wrote before he became famous for Slaughterhouse-Five or any of his other best-sellers. The stories are good, well-written, but you can tell that he had yet to find the voice for which he would be known. I feel like if my favorite author took time to become my favorite author, I can allow myself the time to become that author to someone else. Great post!
Thanks Josh. It’s always hard for me to remain calm regarding my writing and hopes of publication. We live in the USA home of the Microwave Society and I WANT IT NOW mentality, not exactly the best frame of mind for a would-be novelist, or anyone for that matter.
Bob – this is a great post. You’ve asked an important question.
When I first saw the headline of your post I thought you might be encouraging us to write above our means. Sort of in the same vein as saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Know what I mean?
But I’m glad you didn’t. I’m glad that you placed your emphasis on the importance of developing ourselves as writers. Writing (and publishing) is nothing if not a long, long, process. Thanks for the encouragement and the reminder to keep typing away.
Andrew, thank you for the comment. I usually try to burn the candle at both ends while holding a blow torch in the middle. But that is just priming yourself for a burnout, not the long haul of a writing career. A writer needs to take time to develop.
As they say, Rome was not built in a day.