If you’re a writer, you know what I’m talking about. That time when you are finished your novel, and you polished it as much as you can. And your agent has read it and given you feedback. And you clean up any suggested changes and send it back to your agent. And your agent declares it ready to meet the world.
And then, freeze. Strike a pose. AND….W-A-I-T.
And when you’re finished waiting, wait some more.
It’s like sending your baby to a private school with a registration screening committee. A committee that gets to decide if your baby is pretty enough to attend.
It’s difficult being creative. It really is. But it’s also a thrill like nothing else. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I know the motivation behind Sally Fields’s 1985 Oscar acceptance speech. ALL creative types understand her motivation. When she said, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” she was calming the insecurity beast that a great lion’s share of the creative community deals with.
We need some kind of confirmation that we’re doing something right. Not everyone needs an Oscar, or its literary equivalent. All I need to keep me going is a few kind words. I’d trade the Pulitzer Prize to hear one reader say I made them cry. That there is pure gold. I just want my words to touch someone…to make an infinitesimal difference…to cause someone to have an aha moment…or to sigh. That’s all.
When Sally made that now famous acceptance speech, she wasn’t being the least bit boisterous or proud or cocky or vain. Though the lines in that speech are often misremembered and quite a few people have her saying, “You like me. You really like me!” what she actually said makes all the difference in the world.
Sally kind of said, “THANK GOD! I DID SOMETHING RIGHT. YOU LIKE WHAT I DID!!” BUT!! Big but here. Just…keep in mind that in her ACTUAL speech, she also included the ever important angsty artist inclusion of…wait for it…
What kind of artist would she be to take the LIKE to mean forever…to mean You’re done. That’s it, take a bow. Take a seat. You can stop now. That RIGHT NOW part of her acceptance speech is the most important part. It means she can be momentarily satisfied with the results of her labours, boys and girls. But it also means she cannot rest on her laurels. FURTHER EFFORT MUST BE MADE! She got off that stage and she redoubled her efforts. When one is rewarded for their artistic endeavors, one must soldier on…move on to the next project…and the next project…and the next.
Don’t ever sit idle while you’re waiting for the world to catch up with your latest offering, my pretties. Waiting is time. Time is a commodity used to further explore creativity. If you do your waiting in creative quiet, you will surely fail.
As it turns out, the waiting is nowhere near the hardest part. The hardest part is having the courage and the drive and the passion not to wait. The writer-artist-actor-musician-performer is not meant to be idle. Keep going. The world waits for no person.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…