This is a Matter of Seasons

I started on my path to publication almost a year ago exactly. My one-year anniversary with my amazing agent is coming up in just a couple weeks. And suffice it to say I was very, very spoiled by the agent process. The speed with which things happened fed my natural impatience, and I began to assume that the book would sell just as quickly as it found representation.

Needless to say, it did not.
But that’s not what this post is about. Seeing several posts run around about bragging, and about angst, and about balance, I thought it was important to add this story. It’s a compromise.

TSM has not sold, yet, and in some ways that delay might be one of the best things that could have happened to me. I have grown, and I have learned some very important lessons, within the realm of writing and without.

I began my journey at or around the time as some of my friends, writers whose company I enjoy, whose support I have needed, people I cheer for, and genuinely adore. And several of these close companions had more luck, found publishers and began that chapter of their journey, while I did not.

At first, as I sat and watched that journey, I was delighted, but I did already feel the pangs of jealousy. Girls I really cared about got edits, and now covers, and I found myself in a real dilemma, happy for them and yet a bit sad for my own state. BUT THEN, and this is the important part, I realized something. No matter what, I am always the kind of person who covets my neighbor’s possessions. I suffer acutely from grass-is-greener complex, and I’m coming to understand that particular toxic syndrome.

My father and I swim laps together. If we start at the wall at the same time, I CAN’T NOT race him. I will always try, no matter how tired I am. It’s actually *better* when we are offset, when I can focus on my own workout and he on his. I keep my eyes in my lane.

Similarly, I am coming to appreciate being at a different place than my friends. Had I gotten my deal at the same time, I still would have felt competition, i.e. whose edits came quicker, whose cover was nicer…there will ALWAYS be things to compare. Maybe I’m actually gasp growing, maturing, but I’m happy that things played out the way they did. It allowed me to learn this about myself, it allowed me to write a second book, to even begin a third. I am happy for my friends’ successes, and instead of constantly comparing my yard to theirs, I see how nicely their grass grows, and it motivates me to work hard. We are in different seasons. And I’m happy here. I’m hopeful here.

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16 thoughts on “This is a Matter of Seasons

  1. jongibbs says:

    Great post. thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. veschwab says:

    Thanks. It’s a learning process, every bit of it. But I’m trying and there’s just only so long you can let yourself get frustrated.
    I want to be in this industry, I want to participate in it, and unless I figure out *how* to handle the quirks, good and bad, of the process, it will be a miserable process instead of a solid, if not always delightful one.

  3. jongibbs says:

    Lol, you and me both 🙂

  4. kaz_mahoney says:

    I am *so* in the same situation as you. Really. I can relate to a LOT of this post – thank you for sharing & for your honesty. 🙂
    Okay, maybe I can’t relate the part about swimming laps with my father. Heh. But the rest of it, yeah. Really hit home for me.

  5. veschwab says:

    I’m glad you found it helpful, even just to know you’re not alone in this 🙂 It can be, and often is, exhausting, and I’m just working on reminding myself to be humble, to be positive, and to be hopeful. All I can do is work hard 🙂

  6. patesden says:

    “I am happy for my friends’ successes, and instead of constantly comparing my yard to theirs, I see how nicely their grass grows, and it motivates me to work hard. We are in different seasons.”
    That’s exactly how I feel. It isn’t what I expected to feel, but it is the way it is. Maybe it’s because I know that none of my writer friends have found easy success.

  7. veschwab says:

    Exactly. Everyone’s taken a road. And even though the paths can be deceptively similar, no one is. My journey can only be my own, and all my friends have worked so hard. We’re diff. writers, with different books, and the more I think of that, the harder it is to be jealous. I don’t want their journey. I want my own.

  8. m_stiefvater says:

    This was a very pretty post on confidence — I really liked it. 🙂

  9. veschwab says:

    Thank you Maggie. I just feel like it’s not so simple as great book deal = confidence, poor or no book deal = angst. We all feel both. And I have confidence, or at least hopefulness, despite not having achieved all of my goals. And as you said very eloquently, achieving those goals does not eradicate doubt.
    I really think this is so little about comparison and so much about understanding the personal nature of the journey 🙂 I’m finally learning that.

  10. veschwab says:

    TY, bb. Just vocalizing my own process.
    And that cheerleader *still* cracks me up :p

  11. m_stiefvater says:

    YES. Life is so much easier once you put down the comparison. Not that it goes away entirely, but learning to be positive about the feelings . . . that’s totally in our control.

  12. Love it! You do a great job of expressing what we ALL feel. Of course we’re happy for fellow writers and their success – but instinctively we want that too. I love your comparisons of being in different seasons… I always tell myself: My story’s different than theirs – it has different needs, just like each kiddo in my class has different needs. But they all get to graduation eventually.
    As will we, babycakes. As will we!

  13. veschwab says:

    I tell myself: this is my journey. Those are the best words I have found to convince myself. My book and my journey can’t be anybody else’s.
    It is def. a conflict, the happiness versus the want, but it has really forced me to mature, and develop a method of approaching any future events that might incite comparison. It’s best to stem behavior like this early 🙂

  14. Awesome post. This is such a tough industry (and it never gets easier). Stay strong. I believe in you.

  15. veschwab says:

    Thank you very much. It IS tough, and it is *because* it never gets easier that I’m trying so hard to learn how to handle it, for my own sanity 🙂 Thank you for your belief. Hard as I’m working to make my own strength and my own belief, it helps.

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