Thursday, November 3, 2011

On The Heels Of Failure

Inspiration often comes right on the heels of failure. Or so I've found.  It was good to get that business off my chest yesterday, and I got some great comments from some very supportive folks.  I think the potential for support and commiseration definitely outweighed the whining.  Plus, I hope it was at least a little funny.

Even so, I didn't want to let that stand for long as my latest post.  Wallowing in failure never did anyone any good.  It's what you do in the face of adversity that makes you who you are.  (I know, I sound like I went to the inspiration poster store last night or something, right?)

Side Note: I'm a believer in God.  It's okay if you're not.  Judging is not up to me, and I wouldn't want that job in any case.  As one of my favorite Priests once told me: "Matt, there are many ways to get from here to Chicago, I65 to 90/94 is just the most well known.  That doesn't always make it the best, and it's not always about who arrives first in any case.  Who are we to say that the scenic route isn't just as good of a choice?"

He was talking, of course, about getting into heaven.  That's sort of the ultimate goal.  I mean, even if you don't believe, it'd be nice to go to this magical utopia where there's no pain and everyone's happy, right?  I know it can sound nutty, but the concept is a nice one at the very least.  And the point is that there a likely a whole bunch of ways to get in.  More than we even realize.

Sorry, that's a bit of an aside.  What I wanted to get at is that I believe God provides answers and support all of the time.  He puts people and opportunities in your life to pick you up when you're down and hopefully lead you in the right direction.  What you may like to call coincidence, I prefer to look at as providence.  It makes life more fun for me.

To that end, one of my muses came through.  Nathan Bransford keeps a solid blog going.  Right on the heels of my little rant, a guest post went up over there talking about success and motivation.  In particular, I love this quotation:
Presently, I am reminded that one of my own personal motivations for writing is, on one level, a desire to uniquely do for others what has been done for me by other authors. And on an even more fundamental level, it is to connect—not only with my readers, but also with that mysterious source within where the stories themselves seem to come from. To experience the magic firsthand!
Great timing, Mr. Shawn Thomas!  This is exactly what I needed to hear.  The dream is to be able to make a living doing what we do.  The motivation, though, is something else entirely.  Motivation by money is an empty highway to the town of discontent, I think.  It's great that, now more than another time in history, there's a window for writers to make a real living, but that's not why we do this.

Shawn's motivations very closely mirror my own.  I want to share the magic.  That's really the best part about this whole gig.

Low sales can deal a blow to your confidence, surely.  But I've already shared just a little bit of magic with a very small number of readers.  I've already accomplished far more in my writing career than I dared dream five years ago.  It's good not to lose sight of the underlying motivation.  I think this is what they call re-centering yourself.

So thanks again to the commenters and Nathan's guest poster, Shawn... you guys helped me return to me, which is the road I've always wanted to take anyway.


Elizabeth Anne Mitchell said...

That is a great quotation, and it certainly explains my motivation as well. I want to make someone else feel the magic of the words unfolding a world before them.

I'm glad you returned to yourself!

Matt said...

Well, I didn't want to be eaten by the flowers, so there wasn't really much of a choice but to keep on keeping on. :-D

Writers write. It's what we do, no? Even if no one could read, we're probably still write.

Nadja Notariani said...

...Inspirational Poster Store... Ha! kind of puts things in perspective. It has its funny way of doing that just when we need it most.

Matt said...

Yep, and it's a big reason of why I'm here in the first place. It really does feel like this is where I'm being led in life, though, as always, there's no guarantee.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's our faith that gets us through. I'm definitely a believer! :)

Matt, I feel bad that I haven't gotten around to reviewing your book yet. I've been on vacation and have had so many other obligations, but I'll try to get that done by the end of the week. I really enjoyed The Binder's Daughter.

Btw, if you still live where your book bio says, then one of my best author friends lives VERY close to you. I told him about you, so maybe you guys can get together for a write-a-thon or something sometime. I'll email you about it.

Matt said...

Don't feel bad. Just the comment makes me feel better and tides me over. Ultimately, patience is what I need to cultivate, it's just a difficult lesson to learn.

And yes, I still live in the same place. Definitely shoot me an email!

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