Tuesday, June 19, 2007

by Deb Baker

Are you a destination or a journey person? When I get in the car with my husband for a long ride, I’m already groaning and complaining even before we leave the driveway, because I know exactly what he’s going to do. I want to get there as fast as possible. “Any stops,” I announce, “five minutes tops.” But I’m wasting my breath. He likes to pull off the freeway every hour. Topping off the gas, another cup of coffee so we’ll have another bathroom break soon, reading announcements posted in waysides. How can he like diesel-smelling truck stops and highway blacktop when the tropics are awaiting us ahead?

All I can focus on is the destination. He enjoys the journey, talking to other travelers along the way.

I want to learn to slow down, make every minute count and savor the moment. Because there is no final destination in the getting published and staying published business. If you aren’t published yet, you probably think that getting an agent or publishing contract is Baja California. If you’re published, you’re thinking you’ll arrive in Key West just as soon as the numbers add up. You pick up speed, desperate to get there before the hurricane season.

I’ve had a great ride. In May, I turned in my sixth book. Two series, two contracts fulfilled, three of those books still to arrive on the shelves. I’m halfway around the world in my travels. I want to believe my final destination is right around the next corner in the form of another contract, bigger and better than the last. I could focus on that and watch the highway miles fly by, and miss all the action along the way.

But I’m trying to learn to enjoy the journey I have to remind myself to live in the moment, to stop thinking ahead, to stop worrying about what’s coming next. We need to celebrate every little victory – a good writing day, a plot twist that surprises even us, a new story we want to tell. Anything over and above that is a gift.

Enjoy the journey, because it never ends.
See you on the road.


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Congratulations on finishing your 6th book, Deb!

And great post about taking time for the journey. It's something we all have to remember as we pursue our dreams of being published authors, otherwise we're just replacing one hamster wheel for another.

Mark Terry said...

An important thing to remember, I think. As a fulltime freelancer, it hits me hard sometimes, because the first goal was:

1. Make a living as a writer.

Then I did that and:

2. Make as much money writing as I did on my previous job.

Then I did that and I upped the ante by $10,000. Smashed that goal (to my surprise) by over $20 grand, so then what?

3. Do it again plus more.

4. Make a larger percentage from the novels.

5. Then...

Well, you get it, right? There's no THERE there. You just might think there is.

God knows I always thought, if I can ONLY get published...

Now it's, if I can ONLY...

I guess we need to be careful we don't trade our dreams for a treadmill.

Mark Combes said...

Cowboy in the Jungle
-Jimmy Buffett

"We've gotta roll with the punches
Learn to play all of our hunches
Makin' the best of whatever comes your way
Forget that blind ambition
And learn to trust your intuition
Plowin' straight ahead come what may."

Trust that intuition Deb and keep plowing ahead!

Joe Moore said...

Deb, congrats on book #6. Mark T. is right. There is no there. Regarding the journey, another Mark once said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did." ~ Mark Twain.

Julia Buckley said...

That is terrific advice, Deb. I tend to find the journey rather terrifying, but there's been much to enjoy along the way.

Does your husband hire himself out as a driver? :)

Deb Baker said...

Speaking of the journey - I'm on the road with Maggie Sefton, who must drink jet fuel to stay in overdrive like she does. We're have a blast and I'm enjoying the journey!

Julia, my husband drives and also attends book signings if you want comic relief. Last night in front of a crowd of fans (thanks to Maggie) he asked me if I would consider writing erotic. LOL