I’ve been married for about thirteen years, been at the same company for nearly twelve, and pursuing the same art (writing) for twelve.
This may seem long or short depending on your perspective. All of those years in those areas of life have not been meadows filled with daffodils, but through the grace of God, mountains of encouragement from my writerly and non-writerly friends, I’ve stuck with them.
Recently, I wrote about how I haven’t been writing. How I’ve been uninspired and if I’m honest I felt that I wouldn’t miss much if I stopped. This would not be true but it’s how I felt.
This feeling has occurred multiple times with my art. But because of an awesome community and this nagging in my mind that just won’t go away I keep huffing and puffing along.
The reason I started writing again is twofold. One, because I want to publish a work of fiction. I have two books that I’ve been attempting to ship for a combined eight years. The second is because recently, I looked back at what has happened through the ups and downs of twelve years of chasing my craft.
I was astonished at their cumulative weight
- I published several music reviews in a magazine that’s no longer in print. (I don’t have a link because – like I said – it’s out of print).
- I started a blog. Then a website.
- Wrote an E-Book.
- I helped start a writers group and thereafter a writers conference. It’s been attended by hundreds of writers and guests have included an award winning illustrator, and a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner.
- It lead to my group being featured in the local Grand Rapids paper.
- I gave a few talks and then was asked to speak at a writers conference. I was just asked to do so again this fall.
- An editor friend asked me to write a chapter in this book, my first book publishing credit which grew out of the Jot Conference.
- That lead to an article about the book in Grand Rapids Magazine. It was a fun little photo shoot.
Reading that list may have made you feel gross, like I was boasting, and I apologize. But what I wanted you to take away was that all of those mile markers happened because I stuck around.
There were failed starts, massive struggle, five kids being born (zero upon negative-infinity-absolute-zero hours of sleep) and all the while managing a full time job, and making sure that my wife and I have a strong marriage.
I wish life could be straightforward. I learn something, improve, and then move onto the next thing. But what I’ve come to understand is that sticking around for a while, staying in the game, and being downright stubbornly consistent can offer an opportunity to build a foundation then a first and second story and so on.
Are you thinking of stopping your art? I’d encourage you to keep working.
Who knows where you’ll be in twelve years?