Monday, April 14, 2008

Show up

Posted by Lisa Marnell

Between 7:30 and 8:00 o'clock each night (almost without fail), I show up for my shift. I’m lucky; I don’t leave home to go to work – not for this job. I’m not lucky; I’ve been at this particular employment for four years and I haven’t gotten a single paycheck. I work anywhere from one hour to three hours. I don’t keep a time card. No one asks me if I filled my quota for my week – I always do; I show up to work.

Woody Allen, of course, said the famous line: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

For a writer, for me, I hope this is true. In fact, to be honest, I believe this to be true.

In two recent newspaper articles written about us, about our writer’s group, I was asked the same question: “Lisa, do you think you’ll get published?” That question, more than any other, made me balk. It was hard to answer because it came out of left field. Perhaps my answer sounds vain to you, or to the reporter originally asking it, but it’s a no-brainer for me. The answer is simple.

The answer is (gulp) “Yes.”

I am not foolishly optimistic, my answer comes from looking at facts: editors and agents are desperate for a good story, and I am working hard in order to produce one.

When we first started this blog, in the fall of 2006, we mainly posted entries about the manner in which a good writer’s group functions. We’ve drifted from this. Now we post more about current events or the lives we live as writers. We share stories of inspiration, and we post author interviews. But the reason we started this blog was because we knew we had a good thing going and we wanted to share our excitement and our insight with the world.

A good writer’s group has been invaluable to me. It’s what gives me confidence.

Woody Allen has it right: success is about showing up. I show up. I learn. I write poorly some days and better the next.

Keep on keeping on: show up, and up, and up. Climb your ladder one rung at a time and reach the sky. It may not be as far away as it looks.

Success is showing up. Success is a choice. It helps me to believe this. Perhaps it will help you.

7 comments:

Shauna Roberts said...

I agree 100%. Luck may affect how quickly one gets published, but from what I've seen, people who keep at it and work at becoming better eventually get published. With the talent of your critique group helping you, I think you'll get there sooner than most.

Usman said...

I love that line you wrote: Success is a choice.
Well Put.

Kira said...

I agree, I love the line, "Success is a choice."

I took a photography class once, and I proudly showed the teacher my shot of Billy Jean King hitting a tennis ball. It was a serve, so the set up was easy, but you could see the ball was just leaving her racket, her were feet still in the air. The "decisive moment," if you will. "I was lucky," I said.

"There's no such thing as luck," she replied.

Lisa Marnell said...

Shauna, from "speaking" with you in the past, it sounds as though you are on your way, too. I remember an e-mail conversation we had when I discovered you lived in California too. We talked about the occassional difficulty writers of fantasy have; events happen so quickly, I find some novels read very rushed without great description, characer development etc. Keep us posted with YOUR work in progress, too!

Usman and Kira, so much success does rely on hard work it seems. Keeping plugging is key.

You must be a talented photographer, Kira. The photo sounds beautiful: a frozen moment in a sport that is so fast. When I took pictures of Andy Roddick at Indian Wells recently, I only got the tail end of the sequence as he threw his racket in disgust. I did get interesting shots of his belly though - I had the zoom on and his shirt lifts up when he serves.

Lisa said...

I've always loved that Woody Allen quote and I believe in it too. There is a subtle difference in attitude between wishing for something and committing to it and you've nailed it. What is that other quote I've always loved? Something like, "luck is when opportunity meets preparation". We can't always create opportunity (although sometimes we can), but we can do everything in our power to be prepared. Good luck to all of us!

Larramie said...

Not all reporters are "writers" are they, certainly not the ones who ask, "“Lisa, do you think you’ll get published?”

Your answer proves that you are a writer, believe in your work and why wouldn't you get published? I like your style!

Lisa Marnell said...

Amen, Lisa. Good luck to you!

Thank you, Larramie. You made my day!