The Big Picture

Life—and by extension, writing—is a journey, they say, which means we need to take time to observe the scenery rather than just focus on the spot on the map that indicates our destination.

What I mean is, I’ve noticed when I look at things too narrowly—when I focus on the fact that I don’t have an agent or 20 August is still languishing—it’s easy to feel like a failure. Because I haven’t reached that goal, that destination.

But when I step back and look at my journey, well, it’s a completely different picture. I’ve won awards. I have a short film produced and very good prospects for a couple other scripts. And I may not have an agent, but look at my trajectory: from self-published to signed by a small publisher . . . “Agent” may very well be my next stop, should I choose to continue to head that direction. Or maybe I’ll decide “Small Publisher” is a nice place to stay for a while.

As a writer, sometimes the work has to be detail work. Sometimes I have to narrow my vision. But it’s important to remember to step back once in a while, too. If my life and writing career were a tapestry, I would have the choice of picking at this or that thread that doesn’t look quite perfect or standing back to enjoy the whole. And then I might see that a thread that looks wrong up close actually makes the tapestry more beautiful in the wider view.

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