I have a feeling I’m not alone with this kind of thinking. (I’m not, am I???)
Toward the end of a recent week-long beach retreat with
Barbara Underhill and Susan Rosson , I bemoaned the fact that I was a failure. After all, I hadn’t accomplished what I set out to do. I didn’t have a rough outline. I didn’t know my main plot points. I hadn’t accrued a massive word count. I started to wonder: Why do I keep trying? Wouldn’t giving up be easier? Then I stopped and paid attention to where I was. I sat on Spain Cape Canaveral beach sipping wine, watching the waves, breathing salt air, counting beached jellyfish-- and brainstorming how to develop the shadow side of a story’s antagonist and protagonist. Suddenly, my questions morphed into, “How did I get lucky enough to end up here?”
The answer: Over a decade ago I sowed the seeds of friendship with these amazing women while attending a writing conference. Sitting on that beach, it occurred to me that a successful writing life isn’t only about pounding out words on the computer or achieving page counts or tallying book sales.
So I am going to redefine success. Okay, yeah, I know. I still have to actually write, but I’m also going to count relationships that nurture my creative energy. Relationships harvested as a result of teaching writing workshops, mentoring writers, attending writing and book groups…and especially from sipping wine on a beach while brainstorming with other writers!