If you’re a fiction writer, you swim in a sea of abundance.
Yes, Grace, you say, abundant deadline pressure, abundant self-doubt, abundant time management challenges, abundant pain in the butt from sitting too long at once, abundant chocolate wrappers on the floor around where you sit for too long too often, abundant whining from other writers…abundance on every hand.
No, silly, not that kind of abundance.
And I’m not talking about material abundance either though we’ve all heard the statistics: If you have a roof over your head, some food on the premises, some money in the bank, a computer, and a little retirement, you’re in the top one percent of the globe for wealth.
That kind of reminder always makes me feel a little scolded, and while it’s good to appreciate one’s blessings, that isn’t the kind of abundance I refer to.
As a fiction writer, you have abundant imagination. You can create whole worlds just sitting in your Thoughtful Spot and pondering. You dream up families and futures, feuds and fairies while other people are dwelling on whether to try sweet corn in the garden this year.
You also have abundant determination. In the middle of day jobs, deadlines, dirty laundry, and dying dogs (I’m having an awful attack of alliteration today), you carve out time to write or revise. You drop by your must-visit blogs, look up that article on Wiki about pipes or Hyde Park or sweet corn, and still get dinner on the table most days of the week.
If you are a fiction writer who has made it as far as publication (and usually if you haven’t), you have abundant self-discipline. You take deadlines in stride, you answer fan mail regularly, you get the galleys turned around promptly without fail, and you still get the laundry done and the Work In Progress lurching forward.
And at every phase of your writing career, you are imbued with abundant optimism. You labor without much (if any) reimbursement in hopes you will a) finish your work; b) sell your work, and c) sell it moreover to somebody who will get it to publication and possibly even promote it. And that’s all before we talk about the hope that the readers will love your book enough to buy it when it hits the shelves some eighteen market-changing months hence.
And finally, if you write fiction that has seen the light of even one critique group, you have abundant courage, because you took something born of your heart and soul and mind and strength, and put it out for the world to see, criticize and/or adore, in hopes that this exposure would make your work better, or, when it’s been made better enough, lead to your dreams coming true.
I’m glad there are neighbors who grow sweet corn, and glad I have all the material comfort I do. I am more grateful still that I have all the abundant blessings that allow me to make progress as a fiction writer. All the material blessings in the world will not make me a successful writer without the intangible abundance I also enjoy within.