All about the WORK

31 Dec

“So it’s a new year. It’s not like it doesn’t happen at the end of every other year.” – Rob Berg’s Outgoing Message on Answering Machine circa 1996

So here we go again, back on the ol’ carousel for another jaunt around the sun. I was talking to my husband the other day, who’s first novel was just published, about THE WORK vs the PUBLICATION and how to balance the part that actually makes you “happy” (whatever the hell that little word means).

We both had novels published this year which is incredibly cool but also often followed up with a big “well, now what?” Don’t get me wrong – it’s fantastic knowing that the little world that lived in my head lives on it’s own and it’s wonderful to get good reviews and hear great things about it but there’s still a big old “Well, now WHAT?”

And I’m learned that the WHAT is the WORK.  It’s all pretty much summed up in this incredible letter from Tchaikovsky on Work.

And if you’re lazy like me and don’t feel like reading the whole thing, I’ll summarize my favorite part:

We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavoring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination. – Tchaikovsky

which is also another way of saying:

“If you only write when you’re inspired you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist because you’re going to have to make your word count today and those words aren’t going to wait for you whether you’re inspired or not.

You have to write when you’re not inspired. And you have to write the scenes that don’t inspire you. And the weird thing is that six months later, a year later, you’ll look back at them and you can’t remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you just wrote because they had to be written next.

The process of writing can be magical. …Mostly it’s a process of putting one word after another.” – Neil Gaiman

Or if you prefer:

So that’s what 2014 is all about. I’ve got another round of revision on Palimpsest staring me in the face. I’ve got some poems and short stories to write. I’ve got WORK to do.

Set your alarm for 5 am kids and get a good nights sleep. Morning comes early. But it’s worth it.

Happy New Year.

Peace, Love and Starbursts,

Ally

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