It's A Journey

Saturday, May 13, 2017

picture from pinterest

Life seems to be a lot about destinations.

You know, finish high school. Graduate college. Get married. Retire. Or, on a smaller level: finish that book, get through that school year, make it to that date. That's why people have bucket lists, I guess. So they can cross off important events in their lives that they've accomplished.



It does feel good to cross everything off your list. I use lists a lot, and I know the feeling. But... then what? There's a feeling of satisfaction, but are you really done with all you need to do for the day? Probably not. And did you only do everything on that list? No. I bet you did a bunch of other random things too.

But, through the day, you were probably looking forward to that moment when everything got crossed off the list. Then you'd be able to relax and have time to laugh again. Same with during the year. The first day of summer, and you'll be able to breathe easy again, knowing school won't come back to bite until the fall.

Wait a moment. Is that actually true? Does having everything crossed off your list make you more relaxed? Maybe. But what about tomorrow's list? Does the first day of summer make you completely content? Probably not. Because you will have to go back to school or get a job or something.

If you think about it, the list of things you have to do goes on forever and ever and so does the list of days you're looking forward to. On and on and on until the day you die.

An exhausting (and possibly morbid) thought. I apologize for bringing it to light. (bear with me. I'm going somewhere with this :P)

 We like to think that everything's all done when our lists are crossed off and that long-awaited day arrives, and often (at least for me) sigh when we realize that another one is coming tomorrow. It would be great if we could scramble and finish everything and just have a moment when there is nothing to think about.

We know this obviously isn't possible though. Even after you retire, you probably still have a list of things you want to do and look forward to (at least, I'd hope so ;). We know that life isn't a destination -- it's a journey. The only destination there is that will be complete and final is Heaven.

Yet (here's my point) I think many young writers forget to apply this principal to writing. I know I do. Because we all daydream about this particular phrase:

When I publish my book. 

Doesn't that give you a warm, fuzzy feeling? Like once you publish your book, everything will be alright? Like you'll never have writers' block again, that your plots will perfect after that and you can sit back and relax. Your book is published. You are officially an all-knowing author. 

Um... sorry. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Like life, writing is a journey.

I'm starting to pay more attention to what authors say about their own writing. That they're always learning, that they'll never be done. You can even see this in action if you read their debut novel, then their newest novel.  

It's like school. You can graduate, but you'll probably still be learning new things for the rest of your life.

I think that publishing a book is a lot like finishing school. You're in the big leagues now, but you'll never stop learning.

Just because you're a published author doesn't mean you know everything about writing, that your plots are always perfect, that your characters are always deep, that you always have motivation to write, and that your books always end up perfect. It means you've taken a step in becoming a better writer.

Because, really, do we write just to get published? Will we suddenly be perfectly happy with our writing once our book is published? Would we just stop writing and learning simply because our book is published? That would almost be like simply living to finish high school, then having no other aspirations in life after that but to bask in feeling complete.

We write because we love to write. We love to write beyond getting published.

Sometimes the narrow-minded mantra of "publish my book, publish my book, publish my book," can really rob the joy out of writing. It can become a goal we obsess and stress over.

But, hey -- stop rushing. Just because you're published doesn't mean you're a perfect writer. It's a goal. It's a milestone. It isn't a final destination. I forget who this quote belongs to but: it's not about the destination; it's about the journey. Don't let the anticipation of the destination rob the joy of the journey

So yeah. Set that goal, and go after it with all your heart. But don't forget that you're on a journey, and it's a ride you should enjoy. If you feel you can't query for your novel for another year -- then wait. It's not the end of the world. If this isn't the book you want to publish -- take your time with another.

Doesn't that take so much stress out of your writing? To know that you are actually right where you want to be -- writing your books. Yes, they may not be published yet, but you're writing, and you're loving it, and that is what matters.

So, to dreams, to goals, but most of all, to these incredible journeys we're all on.

<3

Audrey Caylin


What's the writing milestone you're looking ahead to? What's your favorite part of this amazing journey?

28 comments:

  1. You are so right, Audrey! I couldn't have said this better myself. One of the ways I look at it is I think of rock climbing (although I don't climb myself :P). You're climbing a wall or mountain that doesn't have a top, it's just endless. Of course, it's going to be hard when you climb, you're going to struggle. Eventually, you'll reach a ledge (that could be when you publish your first book) and you look back to see how far you've come. You see all the areas you struggled with, but you think, "Wow, I did that, and I learned a lot." When you continue climbing you're still going to have a hard time, but some things get a little easier. But you'll always come across a spot where it may feel like you'll never get passed it. Some spots may be a little different but they just help you learn more. And, not to mention, there are other climbers around you. The paths they've taken are more than likely different, but they don't hesitate to encourage you, give you advice. Yes, they may have gone through the same thing you're struggling with. They'll give you some advice. And you may try to use it, but in the process, you'll figure out your own way of overcoming it.

    Wow, that was long. I hope that made sense. But that's just one way of looking at it. :)

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    1. Oh yeah, the milestone I'm looking forward to is giving my WIP to alpha readers for the first time. :)

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    2. O.O omw that was the most amazing analogy ever! AAHHHH I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. *flails* Thank you for saying this I'm really digging it <3 <3

      Oooh alpha readers! That's super fun :D I hope that goes really well for you!

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  2. Audrey AHHHHHHH!! Thank you so much for this. It's so true and so perfect. I think we've all fallen prey to this trap. But it is a journey, and we need to remember that. Thank you for this reminder. :)
    thefloridsword.blogspot.com

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    1. Eeep thank you so much! I know I fall into it a lot, but I guess that's part of the journey too ;)

      <3

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  3. OMW you are so right! This was so encouraging, and a great reminder! I needed this today, thanks! <3<3<3

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    1. THANK YOU. Your comment made my day <3

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  4. I am SUCH list-maker. *hides* I love lists. But yes, there's always going to be more the next day.

    Thanks for this reminder in regards to writing. It's an important one! As far as my writing goals, right now it's just finish my first draft of my current fantasy novel. Favorite part of the process is simply being able to be creative and let your thoughts flow. :)

    I enjoyed the post, Audrey! Thanks!

    bethanyr4Him.blogspot.com

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    1. My bullet journal is actually made up of lists! I find them very handy ;)

      Eeep! First drafts are awesome! I'm currently doing a major rewrite on a novel of mine, and it's strange to be writing original phrases rather than editing old ones. I hope that your novel turns out well!

      Thank you! :D <3

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    2. Thank you! I hope yours goes well also! :D

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  5. Nice post! I can't say that this is something I struggle with. I've always had that "hey lets just enjoy the view as we go!" kind of mind set. Probably due to the fact I'm an adventure at heart, new places and new sites to see is something I look forward to. But that's also probably the artist in me.
    I think the milestone I'm looking forward to his finishing my first draft :D

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    1. *nods* I can sort of relate to that (I'm sure if I ever get on a plane I'll want to see more places :P). It does help to look around at the world as a constant adventure.

      Aaaahh that's going to be great! I hope it turns out awesome! :D

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  6. GOODNEEESSSSS. This is... incredibly profound and I CAN RELATE.

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    1. 'tis is that post I mentioned you'd stolen the idea for. But it turned out to be quite different. ;)

      THANK YOU.

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  7. *breathes in* OH AUDREY THIS WAS BEAUTIFUL AND MAGNIFICENT AND GAHGHAGHAHGHAGHAGHGA.

    I know my definite goal as a writer is to publish my book, but I know that it won't solve all my problems. I think that publishing is that big, bright yellow sign calling out, "YOU MADE IT! YOU DID IT!" It's like a really big step that we all want to reach.

    I LOVE LOVE this post, because I have an obsession with goals. I just really like to make them, and then to cross them off and feel accomplished. But, like you said, it's more of the journey that matters. Of course, goals are still important (after all, they are great motivation), but, as you said, the journey is where the joy comes from. And reaching that goal gives us joy too... but it's not the only source.

    The writing milestone I want to hit right now is... I guess actually finishing a novel. I've never finished one before and that makes me super super sad. XD

    May • Forever and Everly

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    1. AAAHHH THANK YOU ASDFJKL;

      I am VERY much looking forward to finally publishing a book. The one I'm working on right now is quite pesky, but I think it's finally near done :P

      I love goals too xD They give a huge motivational boost when used correctly.

      YOU'VE GOT THIS. It's going to be epic. *cheers you on*

      <3

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  8. So true! If we keep living just for one moment, what do we do after that? Sit around and do nothing? There will never be a place we reach where as writers or people we'll be perfect. But we can always strive to be better; better people, better writers, better followers of Jesus. You're a hundred percent right: Heaven is the final destination and should always be in our thoughts. :)
    I'm not sure if anything I said made sense, but thanks for sharing this post! <3

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    1. That absolutely made sense! Thank you so much for sharing those beautiful thoughts! It puts such wonderful direction in our lives to know that there is no destination here that is final -- success nor failure.

      <3

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  9. WHY DO YOU WRITE SUCH TRUTH LIKE OUCH IT HURTS. but yes *sighs* I'm a list person and I hate and love that moment when you finish your list, then realize you have to do most of the same thing again tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that and yep. xP XD but yes - so true. it's a journey. thanks for this <33

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    1. Yeah :P I have a bad method going in which all those lists are in my bullet journal so I can go back and see every single one of them. Buut, on the other hand, it's good to have them there because I can visually see myself taking steps on a journey of each day.

      Aahh thank you. I'm glad you liked it <3

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  10. Yes! I am a lists person too, and so often I forget that the journey is just as important as the destination. Thanks for this well-written reminder, Audrey. xx

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  11. This is such a beautiful and thought provoking post! Thank you for sharing this <3

    I'm really looking forward to Camp Nano in July. I'm going to be writing a small MG book (think Coraline and The Books of Elsewhere) that kind of came out of nowhere at me and for which I have absolutely NO future plans. It's going to be great XP

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    1. Awww thank you, Hannah <3

      Eeep! A MG! That's going to be awesome. I hope it goes really well for you! :D

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  12. wordS CANNOT EVEN DESCRIBE HOW MUCH I RESONATE WITH THIS OMG. :''') Like... this is my life right here. I swear you read my mind and then write blog posts about it. *HUGS YOU INTENSELY* THANK YOU FOR THIS POST OK??? You're sO SO SO right on -- all of our task lists simply spiral into a never-ending void of do this do that do, do, do. And I speak from experience when I say: IT REALLY DOES ROB ME OF JOY. everything you said up there is sooo important. We will never reach that place of fulfillment by crossing off everything on our task lists...not even by getting published. ALL I CAN DO IS PARROT THIS LOVELY POST AND APPLAUD YOU LOUDLY AND GIVE YOU WAFFLES THANK YOU <33333

    rock on,
    abbiee

    p.s. this is totally random, but I know you're into indie-publishing and thought I would mention...there's this weekly podcast called "The Self-Publishing Formula" and it is SO GOOD. < legit makes me SO PUMPED and encouraged to self-publish omg. You should totally look it up because I think you would love it. :D

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    1. EEEPPP ABBIEE YOUR COMMENTS ALWAYS MAKE ME SO HAPPY. *hugs* It think we're both perfectionist/list-making people so that might have something to do with it xD

      yesss indie publishing! I'll definitely go check it out. Thanks for suggesting it! <3

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  13. This is SO TRUE and beautifully put, Audrey! (And sorry I'm so late visiting!)
    This post is so encouraging, and I can also definitely relate to this kind of pressure. I'm kinda OCD when it comes to making lists, and sometimes that alone just stresses me out more than the actual "doing-of-the-list."

    Thanks for such a lovely post! <3

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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    1. Awww, thank you, Amy! (don't worry about it :)

      Ack, yes, I can get like that too :P I go into over-drive trying to figure out every single thing I need to do, exactly when I'll do it, and exactly how I'll do it. And then I MUST do it that way. That's when we have to take a deep breath and put down the to-do list *exhales*

      <3

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