Feel that chill? The cold wind rattling the panes?
And on and on and so it goes.
Wonderful, terrific, fine.
For most writers and illustrators, there will be no major awards. And not much money, either. Which is a statement of fact about the profession, not a complaint. For those of us in that unheralded majority, who may feel ignored or under-appreciated or second-rate, or who fall victim to a lowering of self-worth, a sense of disappointment and failure, I offer up my word for 2010:
Persist and carry on. Keep writing, keep believing in the value of what you’ve done and will yet do. In a month when the BlogHive is abuzz with awards — deliciously pondering the best of the best! — it seems worth noting that it’s not only about hype and medals. Yes, no doubt, let us celebrate and admire great work. And admit that we’d all love to receive that morning phone call: “You are the MOST and everybody loves you!”
But that can’t be what the job’s about.
I’ve been reading Anne Lamott’s excellent book, Bird by Bird . . .
. . . and had to draw a star in the margin beside this passage:
I believed, before I sold my first book, that publication would be instantly and automatically gratifying, an affirming and romantic experience, a Hallmark commercial where one runs and leaps in slow motion across a meadow filled with wildflowers into the arms of acclaim and self-esteem.
This did not happen for me.
For every breakout success and buzzed-about book, there are thousands of writers who daily go to silent rooms and do their work. Alack, they do not hand out awards for showing up. But it is the essence of the writing life; each day brings its own shadows and rewards. And so for each reader we are thankful, and again we cross into those quiet rooms with their bright lamps and empty pages, thankfully.