Friday, January 7, 2011


I told the company I work for that after the 15th December they would not see me until some time in 2011. When I got home from work at 10.30 PM on that last day in office before my month-long vacation, my coffee-fuelled marathon of the last few days behind me, all ends tied up and bonus cheque safely tucked away, I indulged myself with a little ritual just before I snuggled under my covers. No, it wasn't a facial massage, or some yoga, or even a steaming mug of chamomile tea: what I did was ceremoniously set the alarm on my cell phone to the 'off' position. My smile stretched all the way around the house - around the yard, even, maybe around the planet. Yay! Freedom from the tyranny of the clock!

Would I have felt this joy, this appreciation for and anticipation of the carefree days ahead if I lived the life of leisure we all dream about? I doubt it. We must have gone through a period of sustained hard work in order to really enjoy the laid back days. We must experience deep pain in order to fully experience the occasions of ecstasy or quiet joy. We must have the occasional sick days or we take our usual robust health utterly for granted.
Writers understand the yin-yang, the pleasure-pain, the ups and downs of life better than anyone, I suspect. We can never take anything for granted. So, you've written a great book? Wait until you read some of the reviews by people who obviously haven't even read the darned thing. Wait until a few pathetic royalty statements come in. Wait until you realize you're just an expendable cog among many other cogs that make up your publisher's list. You might discover there's no budget for marketing your book. And to top it all off, they want you to deliver Great Book #2 in six months.
These sobering realities are what make our tiniest joys so exquisite. We rejoice when someone writes a terrific review of our book, or lists us among his favourite authors. We're gratified when an editor rejects our work but writes us a kind and encouraging note; when we achieve a word count target; when we manage to finish a first draft even though the baby was sick and our job was terminated; when we're finally ready to submit a completed manuscript.

Wherever we are on the writing/publishing curve, I believe we've all had reason to celebrate the writing year 2010. I've had more good reviews, discovered new friends and fans, and continued writing despite the setbacks that come with publishing, and with life in general. What reasons did you have to celebrate in 2010?


G said...

I managed to complete a novel in 2 1/2 months and had other people read/critque (the second item was definitely a major step up from the preceeding years), and I closed out the year by wrting a first draft of a synopsis (also a major step up from the preceeding years).

Liane Spicer said...

That's great, G. Although I worked on several projects in 2010 I didn't complete any of them.

Charles Gramlich said...

You know that is definitely true. I think we forget that. I eat fairly well these days but I can remember when I was younger and the first time I had certain foods at a good restruant. Man I can still taste them.

Liane Spicer said...

Charles, yes! It's the contrast that gives it the flavour!

Jewel Amethyst said...

What do I have to celebrate for 2010? I was in a car accident with a car and a tractor trailor in April 2010. The car was totalled. But you know what? I was alive and kicking, with only minor injuries.

The great news is, I had just dropped off the kids at the daycare so they weren't with me at the time of the accident. And even better, after months of squeezing three car seats in a tiny car and often taken two vehicles, we finally bought a bigger vehicle that can actually hold my family now.

So yes, I have much to be celebrate from 2010.

Liane Spicer said...

Jewel, you do indeed have a lot to be thankful for. Thank heavens you're all safe! I had a narrow escape years ago when my car ran off the road and every time I count my blessings I remember what still seems like a miraculous escape.