Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Power Positioning

Men's Lives Before Marriage

Men's Lives After Marriage

It's an old joke, but we all have at least the ghost of a smile that flickers across our face for a millisecond. Why? Because there's some truth to it. Think about it. When you're dating, you're still working on creating that illusion of perfection, or that this is great enough to make a guy want to commit to it so it'll last. There are a lot of things that happen after marriage that you don't even mean to have happen. It's just that you're no longer courting, and you get busy with life.

In the career realm, I suppose it's no different.

There was a point when I was just happy to finish a manuscript. To be a novelist. To know I could do it.

Then that wasn't enough. I needed to finish a good manuscript, maybe even a great manuscript. I needed to improve on my writing, needed to improve my character development, weave my subplots more effectively.

And still, it wasn't enough for me.

When I started I only had the vision of finding a Canadian publisher to take on my work. I was going to get published. That was the goal.

Until a friend said, "Why? Why not go after a big publisher, an agent?"

What, me?

I knew nothing about the business side of things then. I've learned a lot in the past year. And I decided to try.

Today, I've been having one of those days where I wish I hadn't. I wish I'd never heard of agents, I wish I'd never thought about big publishers, I wish I'd never thought about overseas sales.

But no matter what, I know one thing about me. Whatever I achieve, it's never enough. I'm my own worst critic. I'll push myself to do better, to be more effective, to achieve whatever goal I set.

I think this is a big part of the reason I've had a flip-out over reaction to the Edgar nods elsewhere. Many people received nominations. Some have been publicly slagged as not belonging on the list. "She's there? WTF?"

Because I know so many writers like me, always pressuring ourselves to do better, I'm so infuriated with comments like that. Can a person not even take one minute to enjoy some level of success?

Evidently not, because there's always someone right there to tell you you don't deserve it.

It makes me sad. I want to hear happy news from my friends. I want to hear that Cold Granite has topped every bestseller list and Stuart's rolling in it. I want to hear that James has a multi-book deal with a big publisher and that I'll be getting a chance to read his ARC. I want to hear that pre-release orders for Cornelia Read's book are rivaling the totals for the last Harry Potter.

I want you all to have success. Most of all, I want you all to be happy.

Life can get in the way of that sometimes. I suppose the business side of writing can get in the way of the joy of it too. But I hope, like romance, there are those days for you when nothing makes you happier than the feel of the keyboard under your fingertips, the sight of the words coming together on the screen, the moments when you're checking everything off your list and just know it's all coming together perfectly.

I don't know how easy or hard it is to lose and regain that when you're published. But I know the ups and downs of married life. And I know that the conclusion of the old joke from above is that smart men don't get married.

Except for evilkev, who found the perfect woman. Because there are still moments when he makes me happier than I thought humanly possible. Still moments when I pray to God when he walks out the door it won't be for the last time (firefighter's wives do that a lot).

And still moments when he makes me want to kick his ass so severely.

Evilkev made the western Canadian finals in a competition this week, and he's off to Toronto for the next few days, competing at the national level. He's been working on this for months, anticipating this event, preparing for it, putting a lot of hope into it.

He made his first goal, but now he wants to win Canada. The winning team gets a $10 grand prize and a trip to France to compete internationally. He and his partner have put their all into it.

It's hard not to think of the big prize because really, just getting out of western Canada is a huge accomplishment. That's what he had his focus on when he started out.

And I hope that whatever happens, for him, he feels he achieved his goal. Because he did. And because there will always be more you can do in life, but there have to be moments when you say, "I've done good" and just enjoy that.

For what it's worth.

And now I have to go lie down. I put my back out. Evilkev wanted to tr...

Never mind.


R.J. Baker said...

Is that dogg....lion style?

Sandra Ruttan said...

I think it's called doggion.

It has nothing to do with what put my back out, though.

Or at least not the position.

Anonymous said...

"I know that the conclusion of the old joke from above is that smart men don't get married."

LOL, if you'd studied sociology they'd have told you this:

"Married men are healthier in all ways than single men. They are more likely to be in better jobs and to have higher pay. Single men get into more trouble than married men; they commit more crimes, murder more often, have more traffic accidents, and kill themselves at higher rates."

Single women are healthier than married women, but I don't know about the crime rates.


Sandra Ruttan said...

That's interesting.

Of course, it could be because the married men are nagged into eating something other than Doritos for breakfast, lunch and dinner and forced to mow the lawns.

Boy Kim said...

Evilkev wanted to...

trust your better judgement?
treasure the moment?
transpose life-roles, just this once?
treat himself?
transfix you with his brilliance?
transform your lovelife?
transport you to that special place?
traumatise you?
trip the light fantastic?
trawl the depths of depravity?
truss you up and have his wicked way with you?
try for a personal best?

Sandra Ruttan said...

C'mon Kim. Which one are you voting for? You've got just about everything possible except 'tricylce race in the living room.'

Boy Kim said...

I'm going for a combination of the last two.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I should have bet on that! I'd be rich!

Stuart MacBride said...

Well, good luck to Kev, on all fronts... *ahem*

And yes - after publication it can be just as aggravating, only the pains in the neck come from a completely different direction and you're not allowed to complain about it.

But it's still fun.

Boy Kim said...

In this uncertain world, it's nice to be your anchor of predictability.

I'd have expected a cut of course.

Gabriele C. said...

Nice avatar, Stuart.

Anonymous said...

Great sentiments, Sandra. And we wish success and happiness for you.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks Jason. As much as I hate to compare and contrast blogs, if I had to put a vote out for 'nicest' you'd be a strong contender for the prize.

And anyone who'd visited The Clarity of Night knows why. What a treat that site is to visit.

M. G. Tarquini said...

I kiss the hem of your garment for this post.

Trace said...

Oh, be careful with your back :( My lower back hurts because of PMS. I would commit homicide for a chocolate bar. Of course, it would have to be a sugar-free one, since I'm insulin resistant.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Well I won't ask you to mg, since the new puppy ripped the fabric off and the hem is somewhere up near my butt cheek now.

Trace, I'd send a mars bar your way if I could!

Yeah, the back is killing. I had one very crummy attempt at sleep last night.

Erik Ivan James said...

You've done good here girl, enjoy.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I'd be a whole lot happier if someone was here rubbing my back!

And Trace, it's the upper back for me. Specifically the right side, so I can't reach into cupboards, I'm having trouble bending down.

My back hasn't hurt this bad since I put a hairline fracture into my spine when I was in Ireland.

Vincent said...

Am I completely out of touch with exchange rates or is $10 not particularly grand as grand prizes go.

Oh. Unless you mean it's a ten grand grand prize, in which case that sounds a little grander.

Sandra Ruttan said...

It's a $10,000 prize if he wins Canada. With a two-person team, that means he'd walk away with $5000 tax-free.

And I wouldn't be complaining...

Cornelia Read said...

Thank you for the good wishes on the pre-order front. Being, like mg, a card-carrying member of Team Hem-Kiss from way back, I kiss the hem of your... um... sofa.

Also send massive good wishes on the miraculous-upper-back-healing and winning-$5k-tax-free fronts a chez vous. (*de* chez vous? Man, should've paid more attention in language lab...)

Sandra Ruttan said...

LOL Cornelia - sum uv us heer folks is jest werkin ahn de Inglish languwage.

Love the picture! I've got to get a better one.

Anonymous said...

Hey was just rolling thru wanted to let ya know ya got a cool blog here Nice Job.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks anonymous.

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