The Biggest Lie in Publishing History

Last week I wrote a long, emotional post on my private blog. I put up that post on my private blog because I was afraid to talk about those feelings in public, and I was afraid to say that I’ve been unhappy lately. After days and days of stewing and whining and crying, several events have led me here to my public blog to talk about the biggest lie I have ever believed. It’s also the biggest lie I think every writer believes. This is not the post I put on my private blog. That one still seems too raw and close to my heart to let out into the world, but this post contains a few raw things, as well, so read on if you’re interested.

There are a lot of things published authors don’t talk about publicly – usually traditionally published authors. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed in my years of blogging that once an author snags an agent, the focus of their blog usually changes. Once they sell a book, it changes even more. Once their book is close to its release date, they start to seem distant. They talk about publishing a lot. Their posts contain carefully planned honesty. Something seems like its missing, and more often than not, that missing piece is never shown after they are published. A sort of veil goes up. A wall, even, and thus we come to the division between the published and the unpublished. Even worse, there is a division between the self-published and the traditionally published. But this isn’t really a discussion between self and traditional publishing. It’s deeper than that.

I may be generalizing, but these divisions are painfully real. It’s how I’ve seen it. It’s nothing against published authors, no matter how they’re published. Heck, I’m a published author with one self-published book and one traditionally published book which is at that close-to-release-date point. Have I put up that veil? That wall? You bet I have. Except, in this post, I want to knock part of it down, even if just for a moment.

I think most writers go through a cycle. There’s the newbie phase where everything is about the book. Everything. There’s a sort of numb-like happiness going on. Ignorance is bliss, I might say. Then that writer moves into another phase, and that might include a second book or a third, or maybe they’re still on their first, but they become aware of other writers – even more, they become aware of publishing. It’s a vague thing in the background – a glittering aspiration that’s not even considered a reality yet. Then the worst phase hits. The writer feels the need to get published. They feel like they’re ready. This is where the DREAM enters in, and where trouble starts. Some writers are blind to where their writing lies, if it’s truly ready for publication, and some writers seem very aware of where their work stands. Either way, most writers themselves (whether their work is or not) are never ready for publication. It’s pretty much like becoming a parent. Nothing ever truly prepares you for that. Then there’s the next phase, the phase I’m in, and that’s actual publication. This is where the huge transitions take place. This does not include getting an agent. That was in the previous phase. No, I’m talking about actual publication, whether you’re going at it yourself or through a publisher.

I’ll be honest. Self-publishing was a transition, but it was not the same as traditional. There are many factors, but the main factor being that everything was literally coming from me. Even if I had hired editors and cover artists, etc., it was still all through me. My business. My decisions. Nobody was relying on me, and if I failed, it only affected me and maybe a few other close loved ones. That’s it. Traditional has been monumentally different because it’s not just me. It’s a lot of other people, and the book is larger distribution-wise, and it’s permanent. So, now that I’ve explained that, I can say that at least for me, traditional publication has been a completely different emotional ride. In a lot of ways, it has been harder.

That aside, I must get into the main point of my post, which is the Big Lie. Remember that DREAM I mentioned above? That dream is part of the lie. It also can’t be avoided, in my opinion. If you desire publication, you’ve most likely faced the DREAM head-on. For a lot of authors it includes grand things like a large publisher, world domination (*cough* I mean foreign rights sales), a hardback debut, a perfect agent to guide you through everything, and a large amount of cash, whether that be in an advance or through sales or, of course, both. It also includes recognition, respect, and the ability to keep publishing and writing successfully according to the world’s standard of success. Well, don’t let go of that beautiful dream because no matter what anyone tells you, it IS possible. I’ve seen versions of it happen to a lot of authors I know. However, the dream isn’t the complete lie because it can certainly happen. There’s a version of this dream in the self-publishing world, as well, and it also contains Big Huge Things that happen to only a small percentage of authors.

The problem with the DREAM? It relies on outside forces to make you happy, and as we all should know, that’s a problem. If you hang your hopes – even subconsciously (and that’s very easy to do) – on that dream making you happy, EVERY SINGLE THING that does not meet that dream is going to shove you down flat on your face and mess with your head and your happiness.

So, what’s the lie? The lie is that once you reach a certain point in your writing career, you will be happy. When you finish your book, you’ll be happy. When you get a full request from an agent, you’ll be happy. When you get an agent offer, you’ll be happy. When you sell your book, you’ll be happy. When you make more than 50 sales a week on your self-published novel, you’ll be happy. When you get a large advance, you’ll be happy. When you you get an offer from a publisher on your self-published book, you’ll be happy. When you get your first gushing fan mail letter, you’ll be happy. Get the point?

The truth is, I think we all fall into this terrible trap, not only in our writing careers, but our lives in general. You have fallen into it, you are in it right now, or you have been there or are about to go there. It’s like a required stop, it seems. As for writing, though, unfortunately, I have to tell you that debuting a novel is not super fun. In fact, the stress, the emotional strain and drama and pressure, pretty much sucks the life out of most of the excitement I had going. I’ll even admit that on some days I would just take it all back and not publish at all. Putting Cinders, my self-published novella, out into the world was exciting, and I wouldn’t change that experience. It was scary and difficult, but it was exciting, and the excitement won out. Putting out Monarch…well, that has been different. It seems the more I learn about publishing, the more disappointed I am in any dream – because even if I met all those things the dream can offer, I would still be disappointed. How can I say this? Because I have some close friends who are published authors, and they are all on completely different paths – big paths, small paths, even the dream path, and every single one of them has admitted their disappointment in one thing or another, usually with a lot of pain in their voices.

The bottom line of the lie is that publishing will make you happy. It will not make you happy. It only makes things harder and more complicated to find happiness in your writing career. You’ll have brief stints of elation. I have, but in the end, it’s all fades away like a rainbow. If you want happiness in publishing, you’re going to have to look beyond publishing, I can promise you that. It’s just like marriage or having a child or landing a dream job. Just because you find your true love and get married, that does not mean you are set for life in the happiness department. It requires constant work, constant reevaluation, and constant positive thinking despite your circumstances.

One of my favorite quotes is from Scott Hamilton’s book, The Great Eight. He sure went through a lot of crap in his career and in his life in general, but in this book he talks about how he has found lasting happiness in his life. One of the key things I’ve found is this:

Many times people get tied to the disappointment of what failed rather than focusing on the success that awaits them in the next opportunity.

Using this as a base, I’ve found that no matter where you’re at in your writing career, there is always more opportunity when things don’t go the way you dreamed. Part of what makes writers amazing is our ability to be creative, and we should let that seep into every aspect of writing, including our publishing path. I’m not with a huge publisher, so there are a lot of things that I could let disappoint me in the choice I’ve made. I don’t get a hardback debut novel. I don’t get an advance. I don’t get thousands of dollars poured into marketing. I didn’t even get my book mentioned in Publishers Weekly. Woe is me. Poor, poor me. I should be disappointed. I have friends who have SO much more than me. They got amazing deals, thousands of dollars, beautiful hardback books with pearly jacket covers and embossed titles, even paid book tours. And as I’ve already admitted, I’ve felt a lot of stress in this huge life transition of writing as a side hobby to writing as something very serious. The thing is, taking something too seriously that is supposed to be fun will kill you in the end. So I’m not going to do that anymore. I’m going to remember the essentials, the basics of why I’m here doing any of this – TO GROW. It all comes down to that, doesn’t it?

I think one of the most important things in life is to allow ourselves to grow. Every choice we make, every step that helps us evolve into a better person, a better writer, a better friend, is something we should embrace and enjoy, no matter how difficult it is and no matter where we are at on our personal path. Publishing your novels will not bring you happiness, but embracing the changes (good and bad!) that it will bring into your life no matter where you’re at in that journey, will bring you happiness. Understand that your dreams will change as you grow, and you must learn to change with them. Failure belongs only to those who stand still as opportunities pass them by.

**follow-up on the publishing lie**

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle

77 comments

Domey Malasarn

Michelle, this is a lovely post and thank you for opening yourself up to us like this. You said so many things that I have found to be true for myself. I am happy with things at the moment, but it takes work to be happy. I need to remember to focus on things that are going well and also to remember that, if my goals are vague, I'm never going to feel like I reach them. You're right, there is not certain point to reach. I've learned that after many years of self-searching, and that lesson has been so valuable. For me, it's not even about growth so much as it is about just being in the moment and having fun.

erica and christy

I have the great luck to be friends with a group of published authors (both self- and traditionally-) and get to watch their process. Yes, there are authors out there who get everything we dream of. But more often, there are those who are left doing whatever they can to help their book make its way through the world. Thanks for sharing your journey as well.erica

Michael Offutt

Wow. I see this a lot with published writers. However, never with your blog. Despite being hugely successful you maintain the ability to connect with your readers which is why I keep coming back to your blog. Tahereh Mafi is an example of a writer that fails at this. I used to love going to her blog but nowadays all she does is reblog stuff from tumblr and then post generic stuff and she never EVER responds to comments left for her on her blog. I haven't seen a "tahereh" post in her own comment sections responding to one of her followers in probably six months.

Rick Daley

That was well though-out, thank you. I'm getting ready to release a self-published book, and while I do have The Dream, I'm also taking care to plan this out like a start-up business. It takes a lot of thought and time, and I'm scared and excited for what it could bring.

scott g.f.bailey

1. World domination!2. I've realized that the only time I'm completely free to be happy as a writer is when I'm actually writing, so I've resolved to just do more of that. I've also resolved to think less about everything else, writing-wise.

Talli Roland

SO true, Michelle. SO TRUE! I posted about this on my blog awhile back. I'd posted something in my status on Facebook where I asked 'When will I feel like an author?' — i.e., will I ever be happy with what I've done in my writing career, and feel like I've made it?Funnily enough, loads of author friends — some with Times' bestsellers and tens of novels in print — all chimed in saying they still don't feel like they've 'made it'. It was truly an eye-opener.

Domey Malasarn

Scott, I'm happy to hear this!

Judy Croome

Michelle, this is a terrifically honest post – much what we've come to expect from you on your blog so thank your for sharing.To be equally honest, it made me feel ancient and sad, for a long time ago, in another part of my life, unrelated to writing I too made this discovery. This quote helped me gain some perspective; I hope it helps you too:"The conquest which any human seeks in the external world is insignificant in comparison to that which is within his own Self; and until he has conquered his inner kingdom, all outer conquests must be fleeting and uncertain."It's from a yogic text on Self Mastery (I'm too warmly wrapped against the cold to get up and get the proper reference!) and can apply to any area of our life where we seek our happiness externally.Ultimately, our happiness is our choice, but it's an extremely hard choice to make because sometimes we have to learn that dreams are illusions and the reality is a landscape vastly different to what we imagined.And by now my nieces would be yelling "get off the soapbox" so I shall do just that and merely send you a great big ((((HUG)))))Judy, South Africa

Bane of Anubis

Good post. Momentary happiness surrounded by lots of struggle. Don't know the exact ratio, but, yeah, it's a lot of uphillness. Wish I could be one of those who didn't let success drive me or failure shatter me, or all the shit in between gut me, but one day, hopefully, I'll learn better balance.

K. M. Walton

No "thing" will ever possess the power to make human beings happy. You are right. Happiness comes from within – of that I am certain.With that said, was I ecstatic when I received "the call" from my now agent – heck yeah I was – because it came after 2.4 years of querying and 148 rejections. It felt good. But, I didn't need "the call" to be happy.Same goes for the other call from my agent telling me she'd sold my book to Simon & Schuster. Again, happiness surged through me, but I didn't need that call to be happy either.I think if you're not happy in your life before you get published (self or traditional) you won't be happy after. And, Michelle, I can't believe your book is so close to coming out. Congratulations to you!

A.R. Norris

Ooh, that is so weird! I just posted something (not as in depth) about this topic on my blog yesterday. I was trying to mold my original dream into satifaction in the "publishing world". I started to look beyond the story and the book to stats, reviews, you know…outside opinions and forces. Hubby had to help remind me the true dream I started with, which helped me get back to writing.

Judith Mercado

It is an amazing Life lesson you describe here. Thank you for sharing it with us. As I was reading, I kept remembering what someone (?) once said to me, "If you don't take a risk, you risk even more." So kudos to you for embarking on something new like traditional/self publishing. Even greater kudos for achieving this Life lesson.

C. N. Nevets

A great post, Michelle, very honest.There's a bit in a Japanese television show that is extra appropriate here:"You're one of those people who thinks Cinderella has a happy ending don't you? It doesn't. It doesn't have an ending. It's a happy moment, but the real story is just about to start."I believe that's true for everything until the day we die, and (here goes my own honesty), it's not the lie that kills me. It's knowing that there's no happy ending and still having this ache inside that is looking for it, even when I know it's not going to be there.

Derico Photography

Excellent post Michelle. Sometimes it's hard to just be happy with what we have because we feel the need for more, that everything we have or everything we've accomplished just isn't enough. We really DO have to keep working at, whatever it is you're working on, to be happy. Isn't that why they say it's not about the destination, but rather the journey… because there really isn't a "final destination" you just keep working and learn to enjoy the path you take.

India Drummond

I could be wrong, but sometimes I think the reason authors shut down the information they put out is because they're afraid people will see that they're not as successful as they think they should be. My journey was the opposite of yours… I started out with a publishing contract and then went indie. For me, I have to admit, I'm MUCH happier being indie.What shocked me after I got my trad contract was that other published authors started confiding in me how disappointed they were. There's some absolute horror stories out there, but no one wants to tell them publicly, because they don't want to sound whiny when so many others would KILL to be in their position, and they also don't want to ruin their reputation in what's actually quite a small industry.India Drummond

Tere Kirkland

I love this post, Glam. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about where I'm going with my writing, and trying to enjoy the moments in between the moments of momentousness. πŸ™‚

Annie Louden

Nice post. Saw your link on facebook and was curious.I wonder how much of "Publishing will make you happy" is fueled by publishing companies and how much is fueled by writers, at all their stages. My vote is by writers.I like that you used marriage, family, dream job as similar examples. I wonder if things can only feel glamorous through daydreams and other people's stories.I think in all things, writing or not, we can only be happy if we're willing to learn and change from every experience, good and bad.

Michelle, you know that nature/bird-watching is my passion – it never fails to give me joy. One week that sticks in my mind was when my first traditionally published novel arrived at the bookstore nearest me, and I could see it there. That same week, I gave my first reading/signing. And that same week, I got to see my first-ever Acorn Woodpecker, a rare visitor to my neck of the woods, and it was a beautiful sight and an amazing experience.Later, a friend said, "You've had three incredible things happen in this one week – you saw your book on the shelves, you gave your first reading, and you saw the Acorn Woodpecker. Which one made you happiest?"Without hesitation, I replied, "The woodpecker!"I hope writers can find that same passion, whether it be in something outside writing, or within the writing itself, rather than pinning their joy to something external or illusory.-Alex

Matthew MacNish

Your honesty, however brutal, is commendable, Michelle. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.Like anything in life, I think we have to realize that anything worth doing is worth doing well, which means a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. I love that you compared it to marriage and parenting, because you're right, it truly is a labor of love.

Patti Larsen

What we're not told and need to understand as writers is this is a BUSINESS like any other. There are ups and downs. Good days and bad days. And as much as we wish our business could be our art, the two can't meet. Ever. Write, write and write some more. Write what you love and pour our your creative soul. But when you are dealing with everything else, it has nothing to do with heart or emotion or angst like the process of creating does. It's work. I let go of the dream and trusted my instincts just like you're doing. The cool part is? I don't need that dream anymore. It was holding me back. Now I see a path that suits me and fills me up every day that has nothing to do with the 'fantasy' created around this industry. It's always better to carve your own path. Thank you for sharing this. It's important for writers to accept and understand no one has control over our destiny but us. And by giving away our power to a process that treats artists like numbers and sales charts, we lose the drive that makes us so good at what we do.Bravo, Michelle.

Very few reach that stratosphere dream. It'd be lovely, but I've been realistic about how this journey will probably go for some time. I've met published authors who had the dream then lost it. So, getting published is not an end. It's the beginning of something new and just as fraught with holes as the aspiring journey.I just remember, I love to write. And if some people someday read my books and love them, then yay. If I make some money off of it, bonus.

C. N. Nevets

Oh, just one more thing. (*)I think the greatest thing about this post is that you didn't turn it into an indie vs. traditional thing. I love that you make it clear that this isn't even just a writing thing. Setting a goal and assuming you will be happy and set when you've achieved is a trap that not only writers fall into, but also people who fall in love, people who design buildings, people who sell contracts, people who want to cook the perfect curry.This isn't an industry thing. It's a people thing.* Trademark Columbo, RIP.

Susan Flett Swiderski

You're right. Setting one's sights on a particular goal or destination as a prerequisite for happiness is setting oneself up for disappointment. Better to concentrate on enjoying the journey itself, and to accept each destination along the way as another steppingstone in that journey.

Julie Loden

For me, it's also helpful to look back and see how far I've come. Feelings of accomplishment make me happy. πŸ™‚ I love the quote too. I think I'm going to print it out and put it on my fridge!

alberta ross

Yup you're so right – to yourself be true and I have always found that contentment dissapoints / hurts less than happy – being flexable – finding silver linings – moving foward not living in a world of what if's – all the way to go.well done on the book by the way – the blog was great

Jane Holland

I believe, and this is only my opinion, that much of this is part of the glass half-empty, glass half-full split between personality types. There was perhaps more of this worry in my mind when I was just starting out as a writer, but over the years you become a little more able to 'enjoy the moment' and not worry too much about whether you've hit some magical peak where true happiness is possible. Writing is a job. I can't stress that enough. Some people work at it part-time, some full-time. But essentially, if it's going to go anywhere, it's work, not a hobby. And most people do it for reasons other than making money. I do it because I love the daily decisions you have to make about sentences and chapters and characters. I don't do it to be 'happy' except in that any other work would not make me feel as complete. I hope this is in some way helpful. If you don't expect writing to fulfil a need for happiness, it will probably make you happy even if you never hit some mythical 'big time'. My kids are what make me really happy (and drive me really crazy!). But my writing runs a very close second.

Jordan McCollum

I was in the middle of reading this in my feed reader when I clicked through to say that this happens in all aspects of our livesβ€”and then I finished reading your post which said the same thing!The analogy I thought of was that of a woman's wedding day. Many women (who aren't me, but whatever) fantasize and plan and work toward building the PERFECT day. But the reality is 1.) it won't be PERFECT, because we don't live in a perfect world, 2.) getting hung up on that perfect day could make it impossible for you to enjoy the true joy of your real-yet-imperfect wedding day (and PS make you a total bridezilla), and 3.) it. doesn't. really. matter. It's all just garnish for the real big deal: the right person (by the right authority). And like you said, it's only the beginning.I'm still working on this, too, in all aspects of my life.Thank you for your honesty!

Amber Argyle, author

Oh, the wall that has to go up when your published. You CAN NOT tell people everything. You can't complain when they steal your book, or give you a bad review, or you're sick of writing and publishing. You can only let people see the positive side of everything. Although, it has been awesome to help me focus only on the positive side.

Cynthia Lee

Thank you so much for this post, Michelle. I remember reading an interview with J.K. Rowling once (or it may have been when she was on Oprah, I forget) and she said there were plenty of times during her super success when she felt like she was approaching a breakdown from all the stress and the pressure. I remember reading an interview with Meryl Streep a few years ago and she said the same thing. Sometimes she feels like she's barely hanging in there. The only way I know how to deal with all of it is to keep writing because that's when all anxiety melts away and I'm mostly happy. On the days that the Dream, as you put it, seems totally unapproachable – I take a deep breath and remind myself for the umpteenth thousandth time that there is no point in going through any of this, working and trying so hard, if I'm not enjoying the writing. Then I ask myself "what can I learn from how I'm making myself miserable right now?" Sometimes it takes a long time for me to suss out the answer to that question but I'm confident I will one day.

Marsha A. Moore

This is true of all steps in the journey of life, not just publishing. Each is bittersweet and the bitter can and will take us down from time to time. Real happiness can only come from within. However, we must get bumped and bruised a few times before we learn this lesson and hold it foremost.

This is good, and very true. I went a POD route and while it was exciting, I had to do it all myself. I wouldn't take the book back; I'm proud of my work. NOT proud of the publisher or the majority of their books and I won't use them again.However, my DREAM (publishing my work because I believe in it) is still intact. Like you, I've had former friends who became traditionally published suddenly not talk to me. These were the same people who needed me to read their writing before they "went big." I figured, OK, then. Not easy, but their issue.Will I be accepted by them again when I live up to whatever they think I should? Don't know, don't really care. I will only be happy if I'm doing what I need to do: being creative and crafting as good stories as I can.I appreciate your honesty, your sharing your journey, and hope your rawness is soothed soon. Writing and writers can be vicious and they don't need to be. Enjoy the good moments and know you are cared about here.

Roni Loren

Bravo for writing such an honest post. I agree with Jane above–I think it's a glass half full/empty thing and has to be a conscious decision to embrace the good parts.I was happy going into this. So yes, I had THE DREAM, but I wasn't looking for it to fill something I didn't already have in my life. It was an extra thing I wanted to do. So I was beyond thrilled to get the agent and the book deal.Has it made me happier as a person? Maybe a little. Only because I get to write every day and know that those words will be read by others one day. It's a gift to get to do this (even though it, of course, can be stressful, and it's not a ton of money, and I can always look to others who have bigger deals/more press/etc etc.) I think the key for me is focusing on the act of writing. The other stuff is just gravy.

storyqueen

I once read (on a very interesting blog, in a post written by a very thoughtful gentleman) that the absolute best part of writing is the writing.That blog was the Literary Lab and it was Scott who wrote the post (or comment, I don't remember which.)But I do remember the quote, and I remind myself of it whenever I get that run-down, overwhelmed feeling…or when I thought something would feel really great, but was a bit of a let down. The absolute best part of writing is writing.Shelley

Nicole Thomas

This was a lovely post and I thank you for sharing. I'm familiar with the lie through self-publishing. You're edited while you're editing and laying out the book. But the close you get to release, the more you have to market and soon, burn out sets in.I've yet to get a traditional publisher. There are days I'd like to have one and others where I feel my confidence waning as far as that publishing route's concerned for my work. But I'll still try. Even if I fail, I can still say that I tried.My biggest fears is how after getting one book published, you cannot stop. Once you have a readership, it's your duty to them as a writer to continue writing new material. This is something that really scares me as my spurts of writing/inspiration come and go.

cherylmoore

Hi, Michelle, it's very true that we have to find our own ways of dealing with various stages, (mostly in private) especially the difficult emotions tied to sharing intimate work, which ironically (I speak from personal experience) disables our capacity to open up as much (in public arenas) whilst writing as ourselves and not as the author of a fictional piece. There I go, using 'we' instead of 'I'…. I love your last line in particular. "Failure belongs only to those who stand still as opportunities pass them by."

Robin McCormack

Great post, Michelle. I've discovered that the thinking of "I'll be happy when" this, that or the other happens, won't make me happy. If I'm not happy with me where I'm at now, whose to say I'll be happy then. So I find happiness in the now, in me. The goal of being published is part of a journey. The journey never ends. I was just reading in "The Artist's Way" the other day – Once we reach that spot, that goal, the place we want to be, it isn't an ending. It is a spot. We don't stop to rest on our laurels and it be the end of our journey. It is a weigh point. Just when we think we are there, there changes. So the best thing I have discovered. Be happy with who you are now, strive to reach those goals, but enjoy the journey. I can't compare myself to other people, because I'm not them. Their journey isn't mine. Each person's unique. Your journey has certainly be unique and it's been interesting to watch you adjust and grow. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Anne R. Allen

I think it's fascinating that this post has the same theme as your first published book, Cinders. As Nevets said. "What comes after Cinderella marries the prince is the real story." And what comes after the acceptance of your book is the writer's real story.I had my first novel published as a serial in an entertainment weekly. I got paid $50 an episode. I think that may be more than I'll ever make with another book. And maybe I felt more successful then than I've ever felt since, even though I've had many more "traditional" successes. But like all writers–I had that dream: I wanted to be reviewed in the New Yorker like Margaret Atwood, hang out on the Riviera like Fitzgerald, and have the glamorous fun life that Castle guy has on TV.But it's fantasy. Like Cinderella–or Princess Diana and that fairytale wedding. The reality that comes afterward is bound to be a let-down.I think that's why some "successful" writers do indeed become remote, snotty, and humorless (as Michael noticed happening to one formerly funny writer) Maybe they're in some kind of shock.Let's hope your honest outpouring here will help some of the rest of us if/when we start living the "dream."

K. M. Walton

You know a blog post is though provoking if a reader is compelled to leave TWO comments : )I was thinking even more deeply about "the wall" thing with blogging after getting a book deal. I have to say I struggled with what the hell to write about once I was in that position. The focus of my blog was primarily on my journey towards publication – the ups and the gazillion downs – and everything in between. So when the agent & deal came to me I was thoroughly stumped. I couldn't write about what I used to write about. It took me some time to find my groove again and keep my blog alive (I know I'm not alone because I've discussed it with other writers in my position). I don't think it was so much a wall as it was a "what do I write about now" feeling. At least for me. Also, my agent and editor asked me to keep some things private – the business parts of it. Which makes sense.I promise I won't comment a third time ; )

This is a very brave post, Michelle. I think it's important for those who have achieved what others dream of be honest about what potentially lies ahead for those still striving. And you've done that; even more, you've made some observations that not only apply to the writing life, but to life in general. I applaud you – and congratulate you on your success both in publication and in spirit. πŸ™‚

Leigh K Hunt

I think that you're right. there are so many hidden truths abd dreams that sometimes it's not hard to get lost within the mix. We are all writers – that is the core. Core value/activity/belief… And only we can be happy within ourselves. Do what we love… worry about the other crap later, or deal with it on a different level. A level that is not going to effect your writing.

Andrew Leon

I'm not sure there's anything I can say that hasn't been said, but, since we've talked about this before, I'll say that this is at the heart of why I think it's so important to figure out what you want ahead of time. Really want. Totally unrelated to any dreams. You have to take the best course to accomplish those things rather than just go after the vague dream of writing stardom.Also, and I think it was said a few times, but, yeah, happiness cannot be hinged on external things. Whenever you make happiness related to something that is out of your control, you are setting yourself up for failure. It always has to be about the things you can do yourself.Thanks for the post, Michelle. Let me know if you need someone to help you remember to knock holes in your wall. πŸ™‚

Hi Michelle! I'm so happy you posted this. Scott Hamilton's quote is exactly the conclusion I have drawn from my trying week–and it had little to do with writing at all! It applies to any aspect in life where you aim to find happiness. I can say that it was a hard lesson for me but I wanted to make it positive. Perspective is key in how you handle outcomes. They can be hard but if you're doing what you love, it is worth it. Thank you much for sharing these thoughts with me. I know that I have dreamed the DREAM too, and continue to do so, but I hope that my happiness isn't hinging on it. If it is, I know where I can turn to for a swift kick in the behind πŸ™‚ Go out and dominate the world, my friend!

Kelly McClymer

Michelle,You said what so many have experienced. But as someone who has weathered the ups and downs of traditional publishing, and recently switched to indie, I will share one secret to happiness: it is always found in trying to fulfill your dreams, and once you've fulfilled one (starting the book, finishing the book, submitting the book, getting an agent, getting a deal, holding the book…) you move on to the next dream. My dreams include starting, finishing and publishing many more books.Like hopping on lily pads, you want just to touch on one moment of dream driven happiness as you leap to the next. If you stick too long, you'll just go down.I try to remind myself that the biggest lies I'll ever be told are the ones I tell myself.Congrats on the book! Hold it and hug it when it comes out. Take a few pictures with it in the bookstore. Kiss it, if you must (but do you know where it has been? πŸ™‚ Then leap on in toward the future happiness.

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Davin: You're right about vague goals. I think that has been a big problem for me. Knowing exactly what you want will nail things down much better than just skirting around them. It's not that we don't want to reach goals, it's that our goals should be our motivation to keep moving and have fun, I think. You've helped teach me that in a lot of ways. erica and christy: It's so nice to see others go before you, I think. I carefully watched many friends before making any decisions to publish, and it was helpful, I must say. Michael: Aww, thank you! I try to connect more than any other single thing, and it's nice to know that you see that. I'm afraid the blogger you speak of in your comment has probably built up a specific wall. Perhaps blogging isn't her thing. I certainly know that Twitter isn't my thing, and I don't spend much time on there at all. I always, always try to respond to everyone, though, no matter what platform.Rick: I think that you're going about it the absolute right way – treating it like a business, because that's exactly what it is. It's a hard balance to keep the balance between the business end and the writing end, I think.Scott: Hah! World domination, absolutely! It makes me happy to see your comment about being happy as a writer when you're actually writing because I know you've had some things to sort through lately. If you can stick to that one thing, though, everything else should fall into place sooner or later, even if they're hard. Thinking less about the other things is a good thing – taking them less seriously and focusing more energy on the actual craft is the best thing.Talli: I'm sorry I missed your post about this! I'll have to go look it up. That's wonderful about the feedback you received because I think all too often we feel like we are completely alone in these feelings. It's sad and frustrating, but oftentimes it just takes us reaching out to feel comforted. Judy: I love that quote, and I want to thank you for sharing it. I like the "fleeting and uncertain" phrase, because that's exactly how I feel all the stuff surrounding writing is. The only truly SOLID thing is the actual writing. Also, the happiness which surrounds that actual writing is 100% our choice. If we don't see it as that, we are selling ourselves short, I think.

Jim Franz

To me, the heart of your piece is when you pointed out all the times in the future when you'll finally allow yourself to be happy. The question I often ask my clients (I'm a clinical psychologist in addition to a novelist) is, "Why allow people and events partially or wholly outside of your control determine how happy you get to be? And why keep putting it off, into the future? Is it truly impossible to be happy now, and to be happy during this journey?"I hope the readers of your blog listen to you. It's a difficult yet essential truth from which many people could benefit, if only they would choose to do so.

Absolutely beautiful post. It's like seeing something that's been in the back of my mind, not quite fully formed, springing to life and shaking me with its truth and wisdom.I never do enough to satisfy myself and somewhere, deep down, I know that even reaching that pinnacle of the DREAM won't do it.You can't lose sight of what makes you happy. Thank you for the reminder.~Stephanie

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Bane: I think it's in learning that balance that we truly live, honestly. But I feel as you do that I will hopefully one day learn that balance. It would be a nice place to be!K.M.: I was ecstatic when Rhemalda offered me a contract. I thought I was going to explode, I was so happy! However, those things do seem fleeting to me, and I always end up coming back to the fundamental things that make me happiest. What you say about being happy before getting published is so true. It's something I tried to capture before I put Cinders out there, and I'm glad I could hold onto it even if it slipped away at times.A.R.: Oh! I'll have to go find your post about that. Outside opinions and forces are certainly something that will NEVER make us truly happy, even if it was positive all of the time. It would still be shallow. That's wonderful your hubby could get you back to the happy place. πŸ™‚Judith: I like that quote you shared because it's something I forget a lot – not risking anything ensures that you'll never get a reward. I've done that one too many times, sadly, but I am getting to know myself well enough to the point that I know if something isn't suited for me, either. Publishing is hard, but it does suit me, and that's good!Nevets: OK, very perfect example, thank you! In fact, I'm in love with it as I'm sure you guessed I would be. Your outlook on it not being the lie, but that there is no happy ending is pretty grim, but at the same time it's realistic, and I'm all about that as you know. Meghan: It is all about the journey, yes. I keep saying that over and over in my posts, but for some reason I keep forgetting. India: I don't think you're wrong. I think you're spot-on, actually. I had a paragraph at the end of this post about fear stopping writers from talking about these things, but I took it off, so I'm glad you say that here. It really is about what people think of us. It's true that once "you're in the club", so to speak, that doors open and people start talking about things they are quiet about to those who aren't in your position. It's a shame, really, but at the same time I think it's necessary to put up a wall or veil for a lot of reasons. My friend J.S. Chancellor just put up a post about this, and she has some excellent points about needing to separate ourselves from the business aspect when we desperately need to focus on the creative aspect. Tere: Hehe, lots of moments, that's for sure! I think it's important to keep a blog or a journal about our journey because it's good to look back and sew how we've grown.

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Annie: I think it's probably a combination of both, but no one group is intentionally feeding us this stuff, either. I think it's mostly human nature to want a "happy ending" or a final destination, etc. It's only natural, but it's deceiving. Alex: I think about your passion for birding all the time. It's something I come back to when I'm beginning to feel miserable because it's a constant reminder of finding something you love for the pure sake of finding something you love – not for where it will get you or where it will take you. So, thank you for that.Matthew: Yes, as trite as it may be to compare writing to such huge things as marriage and parenting, the hard fact is that it's so very, very close to those things in my mind. The amount of sacrifice and love seems like they are on the same levels to me – maybe because the connections go to the same personal place in my heart. Patti: I really love your comment. It's true that the two can't meet, and it's important to remember that keeping them separate means keeping our sanity. Writers need a daily reminder of this: "by giving away our power to a process that treats artists like numbers and sales charts, we lose the drive that makes us so good at what we do."M Pax: I don't think anybody really reaches the specific dream because when you "get to the dream" it's always so different than you thought. I'm afraid that the worst thing of all is many people reach the dream and don't even recognize it because they were so focused on something that was "other." I like how you say that getting published isn't an end, but a beginning. So many things in life are that way – a constant series of ends and beginnings, cycles and circles. It's quite wonderful, really!Nevets: I really didn't want it to turn into that, yeah, and yes, it can go for a lot of things. I've seen it in other aspects of my life, that's for sure.

Michelle, thanks for such a candid, honest post. It takes a lot of guts to open up like this. I know exactly what you're talking about. Too many times in my life I've set my expectations way too high, only to be disappointed. I've learned to enjoy the journey and let things unfold as they will. I'm thankful for the small accomplishments and, like you said, learn from the things that don't work out too well. And counting on other people and their approval and support to make us happy is a big mistake. I wish you all the best with your new book and your writing journey.

Neurotic Workaholic

This is a great post; thank you for sharing your feelings with us about this whole publishing process. I'm sorry, though, that the process has been so stressful for you, and I hope that things get easier soon. Your post made me think about the pursuit of careers in academia. A lot of English majors I know (including myself) applied for grad school, thinking that once we got in we'd be happy. But once we did we realized how much harder and more stressful it is to be a grad student than an undergrad. We are also trained to think that getting to make presentations at prestigious conferences, publishing articles in journals, and writing stellar dissertations will make us happy, not to mention the Holy Grail of academia: the tenure-track job at a research university. All of those things would make me happy, but the process of trying to get those things (and competing against other grad students who also want those things) has often made me less than happy. So I can totally relate to what you're saying, and I think a lot of other people can too.

Michelle Gregory

excellent post, Michelle. i always appreciate your transparent honesty about whatever your topic is. this one is a hard one to discuss because so many authors/writers believe the lie. i think they also believe that being published validates them, proves that they're really writers. my thoughts – you're a writer if you write, whether you write a little, write a lot, get published, self-published, or write your stories just for yourself. it's in our blood. it's the air we breathe. it's who we are.

E. Arroyo

Wow, Thank you for sharing this with us. It is a scary business especially when you are at risk of losing why you started this in the first place.

Robin Sullivan

I came to this post from Kindle Boards – a great community of writers BTW. I was very saddened reading your post. It is obviously heartfelt and you've opened yourself out and that takes great courage but a part of me doesn't understand why you can find pleasure and "happiness".I run a small press, and my husband is a published author and I can say without reservation that we've been ecstatic at every phase of the journey. Yes, each accomplishment puts another hurdle in front of you but striving to reach the next level is the fuel that powers excellence.I'm a firm believer that "we" make our own happiness and your perspective makes all the difference. I encourage you to try and see the positives in the experiences and not dwell on the disappointments.I'm sorry for your pain and hope that it does not continue.Robin Sullivan | Write2Publish | Ridan Publishing

Good post– thank you

giddymomof6

So sharing this! :)As you know I've had one doosey of a horror story myself, and with my new release date around the corner with a brand new publisher, it has dawned on me… how differently and more cautiously I am taking things. I think the biggest change in me is that I had to step back and ask–Why did I begin writing in the first place? I'd been following the *fame* bandwagon so long, I'd forgotten I actually wrote because I love teens and wanted to inspire them. Ever since I remembered my true goal, everything else has seemed to matter less and that edge to be the best of the best has gone. Fled. Instead, I just want to reach out and inspire whoever stumbles across my books, I hope to put a smile on their face. That's it. And you know what? I'm so, so much happier and calmer for it. Thank you!Jenni James

Mockingbird

I think that all writers have to face a reality, and the reality is a harsh one. This publishing game is a business. It is not there to make you happy, it is not in the business of wish fulfilment, it is the business of buying and selling a commodity. I also believe very strongly that authors think of themselves as artists, and find it hard to consider their writing in terms of a commodity. So you already have a tug of war between the artistic and the commercial. When that reality is revealed to you it is hard to let go of the beautiful illusion.

cavalrytales

To me, there is no lie. Because I'm never happy with anything I've written. Ever.So I console myself with Eeyore's thought: "This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it." (Winnie the Pooh, A A Milne.Then I'm never disappointed. I guess that is happiness, in a very small donkey(!).

J.S. Chancellor?

For anyone who doesn't understand where Michelle is coming from, you should read the book, "The War of Art," by Steven Pressfield. He gracefully explains the delicate balance of what it means to be successfully published and how that can affect your creative flow. It builds a force he's called, Resistance. Yes, with a capital R. It's a separate force and the closer you get to your goal, the stronger its ability to hinder you. In other words, instead of feeling sorry for Michelle or viewing this post in a flat, emotionally distanced kind of way, take a few minutes and think beyond the business model. It isn't about where we find our happiness. It's about motivation and why we started writing in the first place. For example, in many ways, my writing "dream" has been fulfilled and exceeded. My personal expectations have been surpassed and then some, but the act of taking your private passion and leaving it in public hands, doesn't always feel great and wonderful. I'm happy for those of you who have had nothing but feelings of wonder and joy, and I hope you stay that way … I pray you remain that bright and cheerful. Someone has to, because the reality of consumerism and commercialism doesn't rest well with my soul and it doesn't have a damn thing to do with my happiness. It does however, since we're talking about selling our art, have something to do with my writing and since my writing is keenly attached to my soul, I can't just "be happy" when I think about being so vulnerable in public. I'm more analytical than that.Capote likened finishing a book (publishing it) to taking your child out back and shooting it. In fact, many of the greats had moments just like this one … Michelle's … where they've realized with stark intensity, that a life of a writer is oftentimes one of constantly fighting the tides of depression and misery. Dramatic? Maybe. So is life and my love of writing. In other words, not everyone can shit Lisa Frank stationary. I love writing. I LOVE my publisher (as does Michelle, clearly). I love my loyal readers. Hell, I even love my cover artist and my editor. Everything else, however … the technicalities of turning our blood-rendered works of art into commodities, makes my stomach turn. We can't just check out. The internet has not only made people unbelievably rude, but accessible. At one point, an author had to buy a paper to see what people were saying about their book. Now, every asshole with a laptop can log on and pound away. Distance is impossible.So, by all means, if you've somehow managed to find a way to pretend like this constant scrutiny doesn't exist, or you've distanced yourself from your art to the point where you no longer find offense at the thought of its commercial value or lack thereof, then feel free to write a book and share your thoughts on the matter with the rest of us. Don't just feel sorry for those of us who have had the bravery to be introspective. Do something about it. The reality is, most authors never have the chutzpah to talk about this in public. Part of it is because it's seen as bad business. Part of it is because they don't want to offend unpublished authors who take offense at damn near everything, and part of it is because it's just plain tough to talk about. We know in advance we're going to hear about forging our own path and choosing our own happiness and making our own destiny and cultivating a practice of defecating unicorns and glitter. Thank you Richard Simmons of the literary world. I'm tired of the jumping jacks.Anyway. Loved the post Michelle. You're brave and awesome and I love you more than you know. Such a kindred soul. Thank you for having the guts to say this stuff out loud.

C. N. Nevets

@JS Chancellor – I think that's the first blog comment I am ever going to directly link people to.

Angela Felsted

Amen, sister! And I hope you feel better soon.

What you said is true. All of it. We have to realize that happiness is a choice not a circumstance.Thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing your thoughts.

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Susan: I think looking at it as stepping stones is a good thing. Sometimes we miss them, but it's not a failure – only a diversion. Hehe. πŸ™‚Julie: Oh, absolutely! I think the best thing for me is to compare myself to myself. Alberta: Thanks so much for coming by! I like your list of things. Very inspiring!Jane: You're absolutely right that it's a job, but at the same time I can't think that way when I'm actually writing or it simply sucks the life out of my creativity. So it's something I have to juggle between – the job part and the art/creative part. I think it's that balance that has been the hardest for me. Everyone is different, though, you're right. If we were all the same, it would be pretty boring!Jordan: Thank you for your comment! Yes, when we lose sight of the complete point of it all, everything gets lost.Amber: Yes, and it's a tough lesson to learn. I thought at first that this post was too negative and honest to put up, then I remembered to be true to myself, and I really just had to do it, so here I am. Cynthia: It sounds like you're on a wonderful road with a great attitude! A great start, indeed. And you are right: YOU HAVE TO KEEP WRITING. Otherwise, there truly is no point to any of it!Marsha: It's those bumps and bruises that give us character and uniqueness, I think. They are also what lend the most depth to my writing, so despite everything, I cherish them. Deb: Reading your comment about the friends who stopped talking to you saddened me. I'll bet it's less personal than you think. At least I hope so. It might be that they were simply too overwhelmed to deal with anything else, who knows. I also know that there are probably relationships out there that I've let fall through the cracks, and it saddens me that I don't have the time or the memory or the energy to keep up with it all. All I can do is try my best. I hope you find happiness in your journey, too! It sounds like you are happy with your one project, and that's a fantastic start!Roni: You've always had a fantastic attitude toward all of this, and it has been very inspiring!Shelley: Scott is a very, very wise mean, and he's absolutely 100$ right!Nicole: Yes, I do think it's important to keep putting work out there, but don't think you HAVE to or that you owe it anyone. At least that's my side of it. I think it's important to remember that you write first and foremost for yourself, but I have a feeling you know that already. That said, I wish you the best of luck in finding a traditional publisher if that's your goal. It can be a truly great experience, but does seem to add a lot more stress. There's always pros and cons to everything. πŸ™‚Cheryl: Hi! I'm glad you like that last line because it's my favorite, too. It's something that occurred to me halfway through the post, and I was excited to get to that end so I could write it out. It truly is the culmination of what I work toward. Stagnation never gets anyone anywhere. Literally!

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Robin: So beautifully said! Just as everything you say is beautiful, in my opinion. Your positive outlook has always been an inspiration, so thank you. You are very right that it never ends, and there is no final destination. Changing my view to that really does change everything, quite, literally. It makes life that much more exciting!Anne: I kind of died when I read your comment! In a good way! You are SO right. It's amazing that I wrote that book and didn't see it as a similar thing here. You'd think I would have learned something from that, but now that you've made it clearly so, it's not something I'll likely forget soon. It's what happens AFTER those huge things that are the most interesting, important, and exciting. And just like in Cinders, there truly is no end or final culmination. K.M.: Oh, I LOVE comments, so no worries! I like what you say here about your blog because I had a similar thing happen. It was a tough transition, but I think I'm slowly working through it and will find my groove again. I hope so, anyway!E: Thank you so much for your kind words. Thoughtful and uplifting! It was one of the reasons why I chose to post this – because I wanted to share what I'm feeling and learning in hopes that it helps someone else.Leigh: Yeah, I like that about dealing with it on a different level. I see it as more of a different dimension or something, but the same idea. Something separate, nonetheless. Andrew: You will be my official wall killer! Yeah, a good measuring stick is to to see if we're basing our happiness on outside forces, and if we are, it's certainly time to re-evaluate.Leah: Thank you for your comment! It sounds like you've had a rough week, and I hope all is going well for you. Scott Hamilton's book is definitely worth reading. It's filled with profound thoughts and gentle advice.Kelly: What a sweet, sweet comment, thank you! Yes, the lies certainly came from myself, that's for sure, but I think it's a lie almost every writer tells themselves at one point. At least in my experience. It's also important to keep writing, absolutely. My goal is 5 books in 5 years, and when I reach that I'll set another goal and just keep going. What a ride! I'm having a blast despite the dips!

mamphetsalt

Such a beautifully-written post and it was well recieved. I felt every word of it. I know, other than some minor editing, that I have a lot of work that is ready for publication. But something stops me from doing it and deep inside I feel that I am far from being mature enough at this moment in life to handle the stress. I want nothing more than to share my heart with the world, but often find myself wondering: At what price am I willing to pay for this?But I know in my heart I will give it everything I have.

Jennifer Hillier

I just saw this post and I'm so glad I did. Thank you for being so honest. You have no idea how much better this made me feel. Congratulations on your journey, and thank you for letting us all be a part of it.

Theresa Milstein

I agree with so much of what you've written.I've noticed the wall. It disappoints me when authors put it up, but I've also noticed them to give back or be accessible in other ways. But more become distant than not. I'm with you on the happiness. Having all the cards fall in place with publishing still won't make us happy. Part of being human is we don't keep the highs or the lows very long. Most of us make it back to middle pretty quickly.And there needs to be more in our lives. My husband and I were in graduate school and had friends who waited to have kids because they wanted to be DONE. As a result, both people in the couple worked nearly all the time. Every thing that went wrong in an experiment or research was crushing because they had nothing else.It's hard not to compare yourself to others. I try not to, but I do. Recently, I wrote a post of how I want to act when I "make it". Maybe my blog will stay interesting because I write about teaching, writing, and life. Maybe not. Here's the link if you want to see it:http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2011/06/making-it.htmlYou're smart to have a private blog to vent. In the last couple of weeks, I put up a very private post. Although the support was wonderful, I still feel a bit uncomfortable about it. I hope whatever happened has gotten easier, or that something good comes out of it.

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Jim: It is absolutely a choice, yes, and it's something I seem to keep learning over and over. Lately, though, it seems to be sticking more, and that is a great thing indeed.kallysti: I'm really happy this struck a chord with you!Lyn: It's so important to take great happiness in even the small things, yes. I think in doing that we learn our greatest lessons.Neurotic: Oh, absolutely, this can go for so many different aspects in our lives. I think most things creative fall into their little traps and lies, and it's so easy to get sucked in. It sounds like you're aware of it, though, and that's what matters!Michelle: Oh, the validation thing…oh, dear, yes. It seems so utterly important to every writer, including myself, but I always go back to a post I did awhile back about how validation never lasts, and that it's a good thing because then we keep learning where to truly find it within ourselves. It can really be important to get outside validation, but not when we let all our happiness rest on it.E: Yeah, it's one of the reasons why I love blogging and networking so that we can remind each other about it over and over, hah. πŸ™‚Robin: Don't feel sad for me for too long, please. I'm actually very, very happy where I am. I am an individual who feels very deeply and passionately, and this is what happens when I do. It's a part of who I am, and I wouldn't trade any of these lessons and things I've experienced – including the pain – for anything. I think this post IS positive (I just tend to come off very passionately about things that have been hard), and I'm sorry if some readers don't see it that way. I am happy that you've been able to be so positive through your life. What a blessing!Bob: Thank you! And thanks for your kind words on the Kindle Boards as well. I appreciate you stopping by!Jenni: Thank you for sharing! It can be so easy to jump into the stardom ring and wish only for that. It's pretty addicting, I'm afraid. I'm so happy you're finding a balance!Mockingbird: You said that so beautifully, thank you! It's so hard to come to grips with the reality of the two – art and commercial. They just don't go together, unfortunately, and it's a true artist who can gracefully balance both. cavalrytales: Well, you're in a good spot, then! Except that I do hope you find some happiness in your work, or what the point? πŸ™‚J.S.: You already know how much I love and appreciate your comment, thank you – from the bottom of my heart.Nevets: Thank you for sharing her comment!Angela: Thank you!Shari: Absolutely a choice, yes. Definitely easier in some circumstances more than others. πŸ™‚mamphetsalt: Yes, that's a tough point to be at because you know it's going to be hard and you'll sacrifice something in the end. I think that wanting to share is at the heart of all creativity. Keep it close and take your time getting to the point you need to.Jennifer: Thanks for stopping by! I know that with your upcoming book you've got to be feeling a lot of this!Theresa: I will definitely check out your post! I think that's smart to put up something like that, even if you deviate from it in the end. It's good to understand where you might be. I also agree that authors can be distant, but still give back in a lot of ways. Sometimes that's best for everyone.

Thank you so much for this post! I found myself nodding as I read it, agreeing with everything you mentioned. I, too have one self published book and am trying to sell another, and long for that traditional contract. I also know, all too well, that once you reach that point of "happiness" it eventually fades away to disappointment of some sort, only to leave you depressed and questioning yourself. Even when I won a writing contest. Even when I sold another magazine story. ((sigh)) But what I often do is go back to, years ago, when I first began this tortuous journey, and remember my initial goal–to reach just one reader, one child, who will tell me "I loved your story! It was the best story I ever read!" and that's already happened more than once. So I have to be happy with that; it has to stop there for me. Otherwise, I bury my head, I cry, rant, rave, and threaten to never write another word. And if I did that (which has happened more than once too) I'd be even MORE depressed! LOL Now I understand why many artists and writers are often called tortured souls. This is the hardest, most painful, yet joyous "career" ever! And we love it! πŸ™‚

Story Teller

Hey Michelle,I love this post, and thought it was worth sharing, so I posted it on my Facebook page. I got a strong negative response to it, but I don't think the person really got what you were trying to say. I'd love you to respond. Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=213832995319438&id=131043390240418&notif_t=share_comment

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Lisa: Yes, you pretty much nail that in your comment – about how back and forth it is. It's an interesting, hard, and rewarding journey, for sure. It's wonderful to have so many others to share it with! I wish you luck on your traditional contract!Story Teller: Hmmm, I'm debating whether or not to go check that out… πŸ™‚

Jacqueline Howett

Understand that your dreams will change as you grow, and you must learn to change with them.It all returns to that -what's within thing again."We are in the world but not of the world.""What is recognition once it is achieved?" J>H>For some reason this reminded me of when I placed a solo Art exhibit up at Starbucks. I was pleased to have arrived and done it. I finally had my exposure and was satisfied. But as I sat invisible drinking coffee like an observer watching others, over time I felt like a number. My art was now just some art hanging on a wall.I felt empty. I admit Starbucks was not a gallery where you get tapped on the shoulder with bravo's with wine and cheese. But even art galleries, after the show the excitement leaves, and as you say- it's on to more growth. The realization recognition is only a small part of us.I like what Scott said- 2. I also like what Domey said about being in the moment and having fun. The need to lighten up. Lately I am also pondering the word gratitude.Michelle, Lovely post about the walls that go up at various times.Sometimes I think about time so much lately as I climb up the years. I ask myself, now what do I want to do with the rest of my life that is left, after writing my whole life? How do I really become detached from being a writer? How do I spread my wings and let go? But the dream slips back on in. I don't think I could stand to be without a pen in my hand for long. Besides, if I did live more life in something so different as part of my growth,I bet I would write about some of it at some point-maybe. Have a great 4th of July weekend!

Story Teller

Hi Michelle…wanted to add that the feedback I received on your post isn't that bad. It's just someone who clearly didn't understand what you were trying to say. πŸ™‚

happiness can never be found when we look to external things to provide happiness! I'm a book editor, too, so I know what you're talking about. When the box of books come to your house, they're exciting for a moment and then they're just a box of books you have to do something with (bad grammar!)

Elliot Grace

…your honesty is refreshing. Thanks so much!Loved it:)EL

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Jacqueline: Thank you for your response! That's really interesting about the art exhibit, but it illustrates your point perfectly. I have to keep creating. I just. Everything surrounding it is something I have to distance myself from in order to keep sane with the art. I'm slowly figuring it out. πŸ™‚Story Teller: Thanks! I did go read the response, but I'm not sure it would be the wisest thing for me to respond to him. I'm not sure he understood at all what I'm truly saying here. I've just learned from a few experiences that if I'm feeling passionate about something with someone who so heartily disagrees with me, it's just best to keep my mouth shut. Since he feels he said it better than me, maybe he should write a post about it all. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚Honey: Mmm, I love boxes of books! That wonderful feeling does last awhile for me. πŸ™‚Elliot: You're welcome!

I think your post should be required reading for anyone latching on to the Dream. Thanks so much for your honesty.

Michelle Davidson Argyle

Meika: Thank you for stopping by!