Sunday, August 02, 2009

Is it Worth the Price We Pay?

This is a guest article I wrote a while back - I recently posted it in my writer's club journal and had many words of thanks for my open honesty. So I am posting it again here at my blog - enjoy!

Is it Worth the Price We Pay?

A four-state book signing tour. A month-long virtual tour. Deadlines looming on the horizon. And a checklist that sprouts two new items for every one we eliminate. Between all the headaches, hassles and constant running, we often wonder if it’s worth the price we pay as authors.

The general public rarely glimpses the unglamorous side of writing. Most people are unaware of the long hours spent creating our storylines, staring at the computer screen until dawn. They can’t conceive of the marketing efforts required of all but the best-selling authors. Our fans don’t realize that we often spend the entire day establishing contacts and composing letter and emails to websites, bookstores, and the media.

The repetitive and occasionally boring tasks required of us really wears on our enthusiasm as well. What began as a passion for writing now feels like work. Our personal lives take a backseat as we attempt to stay ahead of the game. In our profession, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the many details and daily grind.

Besides the time-consuming duties, there are negative aspects as well. The book signing without books when the store forgets to place an order. The speaking engagements cancelled due to lack of funds. The reviewer experiencing a bad life who takes it out on our novel. The pre-taped interview that is cut due to time constraints. These situations can really place a damper on our spirits, causing us to feel even more discouraged.

Is it honestly worth the trouble? This really struck me one day while returning from a book signing. As I crossed a long and lonely stretch of road, Twisted Sister’s “The Price” began to play on my satellite radio. The lyrics echoed my thoughts at the time, and I began to ponder my current path of choice.

Why do we pay such a high price, making so many thankless sacrifices? Certainly not simply for financial gain. I can think of less complicated ways to make money! We don’t do it solely for personal satisfaction. Perhaps that’s the thought initially, but the glow eventually fades. Recognition is pleasant, but we must continue producing if we expect more. None of these factors will motivate us forever.

So why do we pay the price required of an author? The reason is simple – for our readers and those we touch with our words.

How many young writers do we inspire? How many individuals are entertained, their imaginations envisioning the worlds and characters we’ve created? What of those who were without hope until they read our book or heard us speak? We cannot begin to fathom the lives transformed by our mere words. Consider the websites and communities who follow our work, the emails and letters from excited readers, and the fans who drive hours out of their way to meet us in person. These people feel passion and an emotional attachment to our creations. What if our visions had remained locked away in our minds forever because we felt it wasn’t worth the price?

True success is achieved when we affect others in a positive manner, leaving the world a little better than when we found it. There will always be disappointments and stress, but if we can focus on the pleasure and satisfaction our work brings to others, we will persevere. Their joy will fuel our enthusiasm, providing us with a sense of genuine self-worth and happiness. If we lose sight of this purpose, our author experience will be a shallow victory at best.

So, is it worth the price we pay? For the many new friends we make during our journey, our eager fans, and those lives we touch, you betcha!

- Author & Professional Speaker, L. Diane Wolfe


Mayra Calvani said...

Wonderful article, Diane--and so true!

Kathy Erskine said...

I agree, Diane!

Chris C. said...

This post is just one more reason you inspire so many people.

Nancy J. Parra said...

I agree-it can feel thankless sometimes- but worth it when someone writes you an email and tells you that you made their day.

Great post!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks, everyone!