January 6, 2011

when nothing seems to matter

it's not really depression or even apathy, not this time. it's more like this feeling that there are so many other things going on in people's lives and i wonder, why does it matter that my book is on Kindle or Nook? or that my cover didn't turn out the way the designer and i hoped it would and i have to upload it again? why is finishing a novel so important when there are so many tragedies in life? why does any of that matter?

i don't know. or i thought i didn't know. i just sat there after reading about a stranger's pain and loss and i was crying and thinking the problems in my life are so small compared to that.

now i know that i shouldn't minimize my own troubles because my stuff is hard for me. and i know that people who experience more pain or trouble than i do wouldn't want me to mimimize the stuff that happens in my life out of guilt or whatever. but it's tempting.

and then i thought about the impact my first novel had on people... like a friend who asked God for a sign that he was listening and he used a passage in my book-- just the briefest mention of a cardinal of all things-- and she knew God was talking. or the mom who said her son hadn't read anything all the way through and when he started Eldala, he couldn't put it down. or the teen girl who can find courage because my female lead found the courage to be queen.

yeah, stuff like that. the stuff that keeps me going.

and all that flashed through my brain in a few seconds and i knew why it matters that i finish this one.

even if there's just one person who reads Black Heart and finds something in it that helps, or lets them know that someone else--even a fictional someone else-- went through it and survived or even became stronger in the end, then it's worth it to finish. there might be one scene or one piece of dialogue or one sentence that resonates with them and that makes it worth it too.

or maybe it's just important for *me* and my son that i finish it because i'm not great at finishing and i need another completed story to remind me that finishing is possible--hard but possible, something to fight for even when the world around me is falling apart.

post script -- on why it does matter.


Lisa Yarde said...

Aww, you made me a little sad with that one. But look at things this way: in the grand scheme of things, the writing and publishing adds a joy to your life that nothing else quite does. When I read this blog or when we chat by email, I can feel the passion and enthusiasm you have for your work. Just because none of what we may write is life changing / altering, doesn't make it any less worthwhile. It changes our lives, makes us get out of bed in the morning ready to start a new day and gives us purpose beyond just going out there and earning a dollar. It's why I've kept doing it, despite rejections and self-publishing struggles. And if we manage to touch readers, make them laugh or sigh, that's the best part.

Janna Qualman said...

The thing is, it's all relative. We are certainly wise to be aware of others' and their situations, because that is where love comes from, but it doesn't make the things we're going through more (or less) significant.

I do understand where you're coming from, because sometimes I'll be concerned about some small ache or issue, and find out a friend is struggling with so much more.

Likewise, when my dad died, I tried to be conscious of the things (even when so "piddly" compared to what I was going through) acquaintances had going on. It's about balance and understand, whichever way you're looking from.

Congratulations on these successful steps you've taken of late!