Monday, July 25, 2011

How Far Have You Come?

Do you ever stop and consider how far you've come in your writer journey?

This Monday night a former member of our photo club is teaching the session. She was an excellent photographer when she left four years ago, and now she's critically acclaimed and does photo workshops and classes.

I've been a professional photographer for over twenty years, but I'm nowhere near her level. I'm sure many of the others will look at her accomplishments and wonder how she got to that point and be in awe. I thought that for a moment, and then it hit me.

How did I wind up a motivational speaker? How did I end up teaching classes on publishing and promoting and am now putting together a book on the subject?

How? I just kept learning and moving forward.

We often look at the achievements of others and see only the glamor. But success doesn't just happen. There's a lot of work involved, most of it boring. So often we're caught up in that work, we fail to stop and realize how far we've come. We may not be where we want to be, but we're so much further than if we'd never begun the journey. And besides, the journey doesn't really end until we take our last breath.

How far have you come? Have you really stopped to think about it?


  1. Yeah, and it blows my mind...

  2. I've learned a ton about writing and publishing in the last few years. I should dig out an older ms one day just to see how bad it probably was... :)

  3. Yep. I was thinking yesterday how I needed to remember that I wouldn't send out a manuscript this year that I would've thought done last year. Oicks. We're always comparing our insides to others' outsides and coming up short.
    Jan Morrison

  4. You're right on this one. We do tend to only look at the end result of years of learning.

    Windy S. Marcus is visiting me today.

    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

  5. I started writing poetry seriously after 2 berevements, could put my thoughts and desires onto paper.
    Now grief all gone due to acceptance of what life threw at me I find I can write about happier times and the future.
    So I guess I have come from Negative to Positive(The title of my book)

  6. I have heard about writers that have wrote book after book and sent in query after query for years without success. For me, the process has been relatively easy. I don't think my story is the norm however.

  7. Yes, I have stopped to think about it and it is very far indeed. When I first started singing I could only look at my toes - if I looked up and saw people looking at me, I'd freak out. Now I am such a ham. With my writing, I never actually believed I'd see my published books on bookstores shelves and be receiving messages from people all over about how much it inspired them. What a great topic, Diane. Thanks.

  8. Jemi, it might scare you. But I bet you've improved enough to fix it.

    Yvonne, I hope the next book is all positive.

    Clarissa, probably not, but so many writers beat their heads against the agent wall, never realizing it would be easier to find a publisher instead.

    Karen, it's just amazing isn't it? And I used to be so shy I couldn't lead two people in silent prayer. Now I love speaking in front of a crowd!

  9. Recently I've gone back and reread some old short stories with the hope of editing them to submit. I don't recognize the writing as my own. I've grown a lot. It startling, in a good way!

  10. I'm proud of the progress that I have made so far. I could have stopped but instead, I keep pushing through.

  11. This is a great post. It is so easy to fret over why you aren't doing better, than to see the wonder of your own journey. A good part of my journey has been about the people I've met along the way. :D I know I learn from them everyday.

  12. So true. You keep learning and moving forward. Like Alex said, when I contemplate my own journey and what I've learned along the way it "blows my mind."

    If you love what you do or want to do you take the time to learn all you can. As you say, some of it is boring, I suppose, but you don't think about that because you have an vested interest. It's just a step you have to take to get to the next one.

    Looking back and tracking your growth is a good thing. It reaffirms you confidence and your choices.

    I really enjoyed this article, Diane!

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

  13. Nancy, you are so right.

    Sia, and with more confidence, we become even better.

  14. I often tell my clients and students how impotant it is write down their goals and check them now and then It's an exercise in understanding the answer to that question you pose, Diane.
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

  15. I'll just keep learning. Not to worried about if I get somewhere, just desire happiness. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  16. It hit me just in the past two weeks when I realized it had been 40 years since I'd completed my first manuscript. And 27 years since my first book was published. A lot has changed in the publishing industry since then. My route hasn't been direct but more circuitous; I don't think I ever could have imagined the path I'd end up taking. We've all come a long way!

  17. Trish, I know I never planned all this!

  18. AnonymousJuly 26, 2011

    Haven't given it a whole lot of thought. Now that I've read your great post, maybe I will.

  19. Honestly? These days when someone asks me what I do, I tell them I'm a writer—and I mean it. That's huge! No more apologetic hemming and hawing about how I used to do this, that, or the other. I'm a writer!

    Fab post, Diane. Thank you for the reminder. You're right, the journey is far from over.

  20. AnonymousJuly 27, 2011

    O often reflect. Its a great way to relax and count your blessings. I'm a very thankful person. The best is yet to come. No way have I begun to peak yet.

  21. Hehehe strange that I should stumble across this post today.

    This afternoon I was forced to remember the first steps I took to dig myself out of the hole I'd created. And as I spoke, it hit me how far I had come.

    Before, it was hard to start on the road out, but now it's hard to imagine not moving.


  22. Everyone's responses are wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

  23. This is so important. It's easy to see glamour and success and be envious but there's often so much hard and sometimes tedious work behind it too! I always have to remind myself that success isn't impossible: I can do the hard work and the tedious work too!

  24. I have to admit, I haven't really stopped to think about how far I've come. But it is a long way from where I was at the beginning of my writing and editing career. A loooong way!

  25. It would be nice to be farther along on my writing journey, but I did a lot of fun and interesting things along the way and I don't think I'd want to give any of that up.

    I do think about it, but like you say the journey's not over yet.

    Tossing It Out

  26. I need periodic reminders that the journey doesn't end until we take our last breath, because I try to avoid thinking about it. Probably because my journey has involved covering territory I would've happily avoided, I've kept wanting "the destination." I've had battle fatigue and let God know it! Your blog is yet another reminder that I need to quit the belly-aching and struggling and just get on with my journey, because God has me on it for a reason.

  27. Yeah; I have stopped to think about it. Mostly due to an author interview for AHL 3. But you know; writers often forget where they started, and how much they've learned. Me too, until I stop to think about it.

    When I started with my ftf crit group, I had no clue what writing really was about. They taught me some valuable lessons. And as cliche as it may sound; so has the blogging community.

    Now, I know blogging can be a time suck; but I also know that you can learn a lot from experienced blogger/writers. Well, I have anyways; and this is one stop I'll be making for a long tie to come.

    You've been and inspiration to me Dianne. Your posts have helped me become a better, more informed writer, and I thank you for your thoughtful posts.

    Thank you for being here :)