Friday, 8 February 2008

Waxing philosophical

Got an exciting (okay, I'm easily excited by these things - sue me) e-mail from my lovely agent a few days ago. I know I should be calm because it isn't a commitment, just 'some interest' so far, but a publisher wants to see my non-fiction gift book for writers. I'm crossing my fingers, toes, eyes, tongue...

This path I've chosen is so precarious. I haven't seen a red cent from anything I've written thus far. The (very, very small) advance for Café au Lait is somewhere out there, wending its way toward me, I hope, and I've been told that the advances for the type of gift book I've compiled are likewise very small, but the books continue earning over a long period. So - I live in hope!

I've decided, though, that whether or not I'm ever able to turn my books into money that I can actually live on, or that can merely contribute in a meaningful way to my subsistence, I won't regret any of this. Not the years spent learning, writing, researching and polishing, not the friends I've made along the way, not the roller coaster of hope and despair, waiting and wondering, depression and euphoria. I love this life. I love not having a beaten path laid out with well worn ruts, not knowing exactly where any of my efforts will take me, not knowing if they'll take me anywhere at all.

I could've stuck with my old job. I would have had a secure income, though not one decent enough to afford me the things I'd like - like my own home, for instance. I would've had a secure pension, which would have kept me in a state of non-genteel poverty in later years. I could have had the boring predictability of knowing exactly where I'd be and what I'd be doing in any given year until I retired, tired and worn, drained and disillusioned, knowing that I'd lived my life by default.

The writing road has no guarantees. I work at a day job to support my writing, because the writing doesn't support me - yet. I could end up in a worse state financially than if I'd stuck with my teaching career.

So what's the big deal? This way, I'm doing what I love. I'm doing it the way I love to: my way. And my spirit? It has good days, and bad days, and in-between days. But it's free.


Chumplet said...

You took the words right out of my mouth.

To think, until just a couple of years ago, I never knew what a great bunch of people writers are!

Pacha said...

Crossing fingers, toes, eyes, tongue for your non fiction gift book too!

Your courage and determination are admirable Liane. And your philosophy is nothing but right! You're an inspiration to us all!

JJ said...

You're so right. We cannot live to regret the things we wished we'd done. Try them, even fail at them, but try and try nonetheless.

The Anti-Wife said...

There's nothing worse than looking back and saying, "If only I had......" It doesn't always turn out the way we want or expect, but at least we try. Good for you!

Lane said...

You're absolutely right Liane.

The saddeset words must 'if only I'd....'

You'll never have to say that.

All the very best with the gift book:-)

Anonymous said...

Life is too short to live conventionally.

Getting a foot in the door is nice and can even be considered a stroke of luck but getting two feet in requires talent :)

liz fenwick said...

Fingers crossed on the gift book.

A very uplifting book and a timely reminder.......thanks :-)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Good luck with the non fiction book.

This post really hit home. I just posted this morning on my blog about walking away from a job to write. It's very scary.

Anonymous said...

Savor all that news, Wordtryst! Congratulations on the interest. :)

Kate.Kingsley said...

"I'm doing what I love. I'm doing it the way I love to: my way."

Hear hear!

PS: the word verification is "eyers"?! wonder what a one of those is??

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Thank you, Liane; that's a great post. And I hope the non-fiction book works out for you.r

Debs said...

How lovely to be able to say the words "my" and "agent" in the same sentence. I think the only things we regret are the things that we didn't do, not the ones we did. Best of luck with your non fiction book too.

wordtryst said...

Chumplet, same here. I haven't had a single negative experience come out of networking with writers online, and to me that's downright amazing.

Thank you for the kind words, Pacha. I'm hoping and hanging in there.

JJ, Anti-wife, Lane - that's what I tell myself. Whatever happens, at least I tried!

Aka_lol, I so agree! Out with convention, in with adventure. [Hey, risking a destitute future can't be all bad!]

Liz, thanks for the support!

Nyc/caribbean - very scary. But exciting too!

Jason, thank you!

Kate.kingsley, uh, eyers? Either people who eye, or who have extraordinary sight and hearing...?!

Zinnia, I hope so too. And thank you!

Debs, it is, isn't it? Quite lovely. I'm still not used to the idea of 'having an agent'. I still have this silly thing about not wanting to 'bother' her!

Caroline said...

Couldn't have said it better myself. Fingers crossed for your gift book.

It's terrifying/angst filled/exciting ...

Follow your dream and everything else will fall into place.

Well, that's my theory.

KeVin K. said...

Well said, kid.