Almost daily I speak to writers who pine for publication. They figure once they get there, they will have arrived. They’ll be where they always wanted to be. Sadly, I also know published authors who look back with an emptiness that haunts them. Why? They were so concerned about the destination of publication, they forgot to enjoy the trip.
It reminds me of a bicycling event in central Florida I rode once. The route took riders right by the space shuttle on launch pad 39-A at Cape Canaveral, as well as the largest known eagle’s nest in the United States. The roadway was cut right through coastal marsh land, providing a natural home for the alligators, snakes and countless water fowl.
At the end of the event, I listened as a group of riders standing close by recounted their trip.
“Wasn’t the view of the space shuttle marvelous?” A female rider exclaimed, hardly able to contain her exuberance.
“What space shuttle?” a fellow rider asked.
“You didn’t see it? We rode right by it.”
“The only thing I saw was the backside of the rider in front of me. I didn’t care anything about the sites. I was riding for the finish line.”
This was not the Tour de France. We were all amateur cyclists who paid money to ride in this event. It didn’t matter who got across the finish line first or last. Yet, this rider was so focused on getting the ride completed, he missed out on the greatest truth of the ride: It’s about the journey, not the destination.
Your author’s journey is as well. You may get to your desired destination. Perhaps not, but either way, if you enjoy the trip, you’ll get to wherever you wind up much happier and more fulfilled than if you focus solely on the destination of publication.
Look, we don’t have control over those things. Most of us don’t have any pull with publishers and we certainly don’t control market conditions. We can’t stand in Barnes and Noble forcing shoppers to buy books to boost the bottom line.
Nothing in life turns out exactly the way even your best ideas are planned. Don’t believe me? Think back to your last vacation or family reunion. I rest my case.
Your destination of any trip, journey, goal or event is one moment in time out of thousands of other precious moments that tick away faster than we can blink. It would be so sad for you to get to your destination—even your desired one—and realize that a huge chunk of precious time slipped under the bridge of life without you even noticing it. So, slow down, look around and take in the many splendors of this marvelous journey you’re taking down the writing road. Enjoy each moment while it’s there. You’ll be glad you did.