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Keeping Perspective on Writing
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Perspective. It's something many writers lack entirely and most of us probably lose from time to time in our enthusiasm or despair.

I've been blogging about writing a lot the past few weeks because I've been writing a lot. I've also been reading other author blogs and lists, which is what makes me think about perspective.

The first time authors who seem to believe the publication of their novel by a small press has imbued them with an aura before which all sentient beings will bow down in awe, really need to get a grip. The aspiring authors who are ready to sacrifice their every waking moment and their first born child, if necessary, to see a book in print are off base.

Anyone who has had a book published has a right to be proud. It is a difficult task. It requires effort most people are simply unwilling to put forth. In that way it is like running a marathon (which alas I never managed) -- undeniably a huge achievement. Yet, in writing for publication, as is the case with marathons, thousands of people meet the challenge every year, and just as there are world class runners and part-time plodders, so too some published writers work at a far higher level than others.

As I was when I ran, I am a back of the pack novelist. I take pride in being able to cover the distance, while realizing I'm not going to garner trophies, let alone be offered any appearance fees. There are those who earn their living writing. I don't. It's what I love to do, but have to find time to do, just like thousands of excellent runners (and photographers and bird watchers and model train enthusiasts and on and on...) who have to find time for their avocations.

No doubt many such enthusiasts lack perspective and destroy their jobs, families and lives in pursuit of, for example, second place in their age group at a local road race. But I think it is less common, perhaps because other talented spare timers don't have the excuse that we writers always trot out -- the remote possibility of winning the publishing lottery.

If you're out running for fun, you know you're not going to suddenly turn into an Olympian. Period. There's no chance. Nothing can make you faster than you are, not even Oprah. But for writers, that's not quite true. Almost, but not quite. No one really knows why a book occassionally comes out of nowhere to hit the bestseller lists.

Maybe that's what makes it so hard for us to keep perspective.

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