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Right now, I'm consciously watching what I eat. I don't believe in dieting, but I know how to watch "how much" I eat and "when". This used to be a habit, like karate five times a week, but after kids, well, I slipped. My pants got too tight and I felt blechy. Funny thing was, once I made the decision, I wanted results now. It bugged me that after a few days of being dedicated, my jeans were *still* too tight and I didn't want to wear my baggy sweaters even one more time. Ridiculous, I know – but there's nothing quite as frustrating as doing something difficult and not seeing at least a little bit of change in order to encourage me to keep going. Sometimes, I wear larger pants just to remind myself, tangibly, what success feels like. I like the immediate satisfaction of a loose pair of pants.

This is a lot like publishing.

Once I made the decision to become a published author of my dreams, I wanted it now (and, for the most part, pretty much got that. If we disregard the first 20 years of noodling around...) and once I got an offer in hand, I wanted to see my book in print now. Or get the ARC now. Or the copy edits now. Or my editor's letter now. Or my publishing date...

You get the picture.

But it doesn't happen "now" (and doesn't happen at all if you don't start and stick with it). It takes time, a looooong time! An excruciating, frustratingly nebulous, torturous amount of time. It is a million little baby steps out of a million different conscious decisions that may have no immediately measurable results until you look back and see how far you've come. It takes years. No one really knows how long. It can be frustrating doing everything I can to be a "good writer": writing every day, reading lots, joining groups, going to conferences, learning, investing, working on websites and trailers and marketing ideas and following up on leads and contacts and new ideas...and have nothing solid to show for it. Nothing to point to and say "Look! See that? That is *concrete evidence* that what I'm doing is working. This will get results!" And, without a tardis, I can't make the time go faster.

What I really want is a loose pair of publishing pants; something that reminds me that I'm doing it and if I keep this up, I will eventually get results. I will reach my goal.

Am I anywhere closer to publishing a novel? I sincerely *hope* so – this has been a major investment in time, money & head-space! But the only thing I can do is keep going for me because this is what I want to do. It takes dedication and a whole boatload of patience (and if there is ONE thing I've learned so far is having more patience!); one day at a time, every hour that I can spare, during naps or late nights or early mornings or between appointments – I make it happen and it's hard. Like putting down the fork. Like drinking 64 oz. of water. Like not grabbing a piece of bread just 'cuz it's there. One more good decision. One more baby step.

I'm sitting, Butt In Chair, in a loose pair of pants.

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
mguibord
Jan. 8th, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC)
Dawn- not only will you get there but you will do it with wit and style, inspiring many of us along the way. I'm going to get some water. Loose pants? Check. That's the only kind I've got these days :)
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 8th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC)
Actually, I'm doing great, but this was really one of those random epiphanies that I thought might resonate.

Now for more tea...
faerie_writer
Jan. 8th, 2010 03:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, this post is *so* true!!
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 8th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

P.S. I *love* your pic!!
faerie_writer
Jan. 8th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
I love her too! She's an ice-sculpted dancer. :D
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 9th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC)
brilliant/amazing/gorgeous!

*happy sigh*
thegreatmissjj
Jan. 8th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
Great post!
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 8th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the RTs, lady!
(Anonymous)
Jan. 8th, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
Um, how did I not know you have a blog? #dlschubertfail I totally agree - especially about the 20-year overnight success. I'm blown away by folks in their late teens/early 20's who are published. How the heck does that happen??? And, you're right. The key is to keep plugging away, butt in chair, day by day. As the header of my blog reads, "Little by little all your sweet dreams come true." And remember to enjoy each little baby step. All best to you, my friend. ;-)
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 8th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
I'm still definitely in the "How Does This Happen?" stage, but every step brings us closer...or thinner! ;-)
ext_216549
Jan. 8th, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
The pants! I have those! Elastic waist pants are the way to go in life! LOL! What a fabulous topic... love the comparison to clothing. Be here in the now, instead of jumping ahead with impatience. I always say that I'm a very impatient "patient" person. Maybe I'd find relief from that if I just put on some sweats...

- Julie
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 8th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
*grin* I think of myself as a very patient "impatient" person. I am learning despite myself. Fortunately, I have lots of hair that can fall out and no one will notice for a while... ;-)
ext_210205
Jan. 8th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
Little by Little All Your Sweet Dreams Come True
Sorry about the "anon" thing. I'm not used to LJ. It's me, Debbie Schubert!
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 8th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Little by Little All Your Sweet Dreams Come True
I guessed right! Do I win a pony?
sheela_chari
Jan. 8th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
I often feel that same impatience. This year is the first time I actually thought about a career path for myself -- i.e. setting concrete goals for helping me to get where I want in the next 5 years.

Maybe it's b/c I have the knowledge that my toddler will finally be in preschool this year. heh.

I agree with Maurissa that you will definitely get where you want to be. I always admire your great sense of focus.
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 8th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
I admit my kids going to school freed up A LOT of time, but I also noticed that when I was forced to get it done in 45 minute bursts, those were very productive bursts. With more hours at my disposal, I find that I want to websurf more or kick around the kitchen or -- believe it or not -- when there's a particularly nasty bit I want to avoid, there are chores that can be done like dishes or laundry. It still takes a *massive* dose of discipline to keep typing and not nibble at random things from the fridge!
robinellen
Jan. 8th, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC)
Great post -- and so true! Thank goodness I lost a pant size last year, because my publishing goals are moving at a much more glacial pace!
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 8th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
Hm. I went *up* a pant size and things are moving at a glacial pace...not good...

However, nothing beats a smile & we've got that *down*!
ext_206464
Jan. 8th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
I have very much been feeling this way. The ache of the waiting is so hard.
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 8th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
The hardest part is waiting. On the Blueboards, I joked that my name should be "Wait Waiting McWaiting". Laughing about it helps!
kimberlyloomis.wordpress.com
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
Wow
Great post, Dawn. To say reading this was timely doesn't even begin to do it justice. Thanks a bunch. Truly.
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow
Glad to share the love & empathy!
fandoria
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
Wonderful post! Now if only BIC would really give you loose pants instead of tighter ones...
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
Admittedly, being a dedicated writer is counter-intuitive with being a dedicated health nut, but I think there's room for both. It just involves more discipline! *sigh*
fandoria
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
That's for sure. And I've learned that if I want my active time, I've got to do it *before* I sit down at the computer or it doesn't happen.
dawn_metcalf
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
See, I'm the reverse. I have to sit down and do my writing *first* or everything else gets in the way. I have designated times (like picking up kids, going to karate, etc.) to stop.

Hey, whatever works, right? ;-)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 24th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
Awesome.
This post is made of awesome. Thanks for the link. We're sisters in the loose pants club. Hollah! ~mg
dawn_metcalf
May. 17th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
Re: Awesome.
A-men, sistah!
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )