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Entitled is a tricky word. It carries a lot of connotations with it. Today, we’re going to focus on the more positive end of the word, even if the message is a little bit darker. Strap in. It’s going to be interesting.

Sorry I’ve been out the last two weeks. I had some time off for my daughter’s graduation, her big party for that, and Memorial Day. I find when I’m off on Mondays, Tuesdays are bonkers busy so blogs tend not to happen. For now, we’re back on track. There’s a new series starting next week, but for now, I actually have a one-off blog. One of those hasn’t posted in a long time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Drawing from the Well

I got some work done on the book recently, but not as much as you might have expected with no blog for two weeks. I’m still working on those added chapters in Arc I, but there’s only the one I’m working on and one more after that before I return to normal editing. This chapter is finally finding its footing and I think it’s going to be interesting. Unfortunately, that means I’m not going to post a count update to pages or words for now. Hopefully I can knuckle down and get you some exciting news next week.

Filling the Well

I caught up, but then I fell behind again. I’ve definitely read some good books and short stories the last couple of weeks, though. I finished Duet with the Siren Duke which was arguably the best of the series. I can’t wait for Dawn with the Wolf Knight later this year. I also started the Kate Daniels series and read the first two books and prequel short story of that. It scratches that sexy, paranormal detective itch that I discovered a few years back. For short stories, I read A Well-Fed Companion, which was deliciously dark, and Judge Dee and the Executioner of Epinal. Judge Dee holds a special place in my heart. He’s one of the best-formed characters I’ve seen in years and operates in the limited short story space. This particular entry was exceptional. I’m going to back to read others I’ve missed now. So, things are moving along, but I’ve got to pick up the pace to hit 50 by month end.

Full List

40/100 for #ProjectBookworm2024



Well Chat

You are only entitled to your labor, not the fruits of your labor. -Bhagavad Gita
Be prolific, not perfect. -Joe Polish
[Legacy is] planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. -Lin-Manuel Miranda
God’s job is outcome. Your job is process. -Steven Furtick

All of these quotes have been swimming around in my head in one form or another for weeks or years at this point. They come together most poignantly in the first quote, though. It’s the one I heard most recently and which struck me the hardest. It plucked such a strong chord in me that I wanted to cover it here, so here we go.

The first quote is completely accurate. No one wants to hear it. Writers think that our first book, usually the one we feel like is our magnum opus, is going to be a #1 New York Times Bestseller. The awful truth, of course, is that it likely won’t. It is exceedingly rare for a debut to hit the NYT list at all, never mind topping it. Most debuts don’t sell well at all. No one knows who a debut is. Without considerable marketing and a lot of luck, a debut novel won’t earn itself out, regardless of if it is traditionally published or self-published (read that as self-funded for these purposes). I’m no different here. I lost money on my first book. The difference is that I expected that. I actually lost less than I expected which feels like a success.

If there’s no expectation of making money, why do it then? Right?

Wrong. Art isn’t industry or commerce. It has been commercialized, yes, but it should not be considered a commercial product. It isn’t bread or iPhones or Nikes. Art has value for its own sake. It always has. It’s why artist create KNOWING no one may ever see it. You aren’t entitled to money, success, or fame. You are only entitled to your labor. You can work as hard and as long as you can to bring your vision to reality. No one else has to like it, though.

Now, if you want to make money, the best method I have seen is the Sanderson model: proliferation. The man writes so much it is mind-boggling. As I write this, he has tweeted that he finished one of the final drafts of Stormlight Archive 5. It’s almost a half million words long! He’s not the only one, though. I hear many authors online talk about a rapid release strategy, not the least of these being The Courtney Project and Heart Breathings. Your first book probably won’t sell well. Neither will your second. No book you ever write will be perfect. If, however, you can be prolific, you’ll have a body of work. This will lend yourself to success as well as garner some forgiveness from your readers when, on occasion, your work isn’t your best.

Art, however, is a long game. You likely won’t live to see your art get recognized in the fullness of its greatness. J.R.R. Tolkien died in 1973, TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS before his books were made into blockbuster smash hits in the cinema. Does that mean he shouldn’t have written them because he didn’t live to see their commercial success and the recognition of the greatness of what he wrote? Absolutely not. His art had value even before it was dramatized and commercialized. So does yours. If you write your book now, someone may pick it up one day a hundred years from now, see it for how good it is, and take it and run with it. If you don’t write your book now, there’s no chance of that ever happening.

You can see now that all of this is putting your focus in the wrong place: the outcome. The outcome is out of your control. Full stop. You cannot control how people receive what you make. You could think it is the greatest thing in the world and no one will take notice. You could think it is a garbage fire and secure a five-book deal. You never know. You can’t create betting on an outcome that may not come to pass. That’s literally gambling with your future. What you can do is make sure your process is tight, your effort is strong, and your desire is true. The rest is up to God.

You aren’t entitled to the fruits of your labors, whether that be money, movie deals, art galleries, or recording contracts. None of that is guaranteed and you shouldn’t expect it. If it happens, great, but you cannot expect it. All you can expect is to work long, hard, tiring, unnoticed hours on your art. The only gratification you can guarantee is your own. If you love what you’re creating, create it to see it become something real. Don’t create it to see it become something famous or even lucrative. Perish the thought. Create it because you love it. Create it because you can’t NOT create it. Let that be enough. Take pride in your creation for its own sake. That way, the rest is gravy.

Have a great week!

May the tide carry you to safer shores.