Being a writer is an ongoing journey. Sure, there are obvious landmarks – completion of the first book, deadlines, due dates, releases, but most of the time, being a writer is not as much about the big events, as it is about the small victories, things you have completed on those long, weaving-together days spent alone in your office with no one watching. Writing a book does not happen on the day of the release, but rather, over the course of so, so many hours and so many opportunities to give up.
And I consider that my greatest accomplishment.
Sure, I could say that I’m proud of the books I’ve released. I’m proud of the stories I spent thousands of hours bringing up to scratch. I’m proud that I completed National Novel Writing Month, that I run three successful websites with requisite newsletters and social media platforms that I have created and cared for from birth. I’m proud of my startup company and the fact that I graduated my beloved college Summa Cum Laude, I’m proud of the books I’ve read, the classes I’ve taken and adventures I’ve been so lucky to experience.
All of this is true. I am proud of these things and I feel no compunction saying so. But my biggest accomplishment, in this challenging, ever-changing, continually frustrating career is that I’m still doing it.
Recently, I got notice that another independent press I’m aligned with is shutting down. I have already experienced one press shut down and another press change management – both effectively pulling the rug out from under authors, artists, and editors, and to have yet another publisher do the same is more than disheartening. It is one of the largest downs in a career fraught with victories and failures, acceptances and rejections, happy days and frustrating ones.
Because, of course, I’m not going anywhere. This press closing does not mark my final chapter in the industry. Of course not. I have too many stories to tell and characters to meet. There’s still so much to be done. No, this press closing only makes that journey more difficult, as I now have to determine what I want to do with the two books now looking for a home and I rearrange my publishing schedule and I lose beloved editors.
Some days, it seems like it’d be a hell of a lot easier just to quit. But, of course, it wouldn’t. This isn’t a hobby, but a passion, a drive, a calling that doesn’t let go when times get tough – even though sometimes I wish it would.
So what? Here’s the accomplishment I’m most proud of – not giving up. Like any diet or lifestyle change or new adventure, that is not a matter of one decision and all is set into place. No, that is a question of day in and day out, standing strong, fighting for my passions and never allowing the shit to stop me. And it’ll try. Hell, it tries nearly every day. But I’m stronger than that, stronger than the no’s and the nonsense. Stronger than taking the easy way out and saying this isn’t for me.
Because it is for me. And I’m going to work damn hard every day to prove that, to myself and the world. And that’s my biggest accomplishment. ♦