It’s almost the end of the year – only three days left of 2017, to be exact. This same time last year, I thought that I would be in a different place than where I am. I had plans to be published, to have my work featured in a literary magazine, and for all of my efforts – which I will admit, have not always been consistent – I haven’t gotten to where I wanted to be. But I have gotten to where I need to be.
Somewhere between March and June this year, don’t ask for specifics because my mind just does not retain that kind of real life detail, I began a collaboration project with an author I truly admire and respect. It is my first collaboration project, and it has been very near and dear to my heart. We’ve had our pitfalls, we’ve had our successes, but more than that, we’ve each pushed the boundaries for the other.
I’ve become a better writer, learned how to show more than I ever did before, and as an angst writer, that means that I get to tear out the hearts of my readers all the more completely and leave them as nothing more than gooey piles of emotional turmoil. When I get a comment from a reader or beta that tells me I made them “ugly cry” I do a little dance. Not gonna lie, it feels pretty damn good to know that I can make someone feel the very depth of the heartache my characters are feeling.
I’ve also learned what it’s like to compromise, and as hard as it is – how to swallow my pride. It isn’t easy, I’ll tell you that right now. I’m a dead-center Capricorn, and pride is something I have in abundance, as is stubbornness. And I know that this means when I am passionate about something, I will lock horns and stay locked until the bitter end. And the person I’m collaborating with? Well, she’s a Capricorn, too, but she’s on the cusp of Aquarius.
Stubborn. Prideful. Arrogant, at times. Unwilling to bend. These are things that can describe both of us, as are: Passion, and fear.
You see, as writers, those worlds we create define us, define who we are, and even how we think of ourselves, and if that’s threatened in any manner, we can turn mean real quick. But on the flip side of that is a passion that drives us to distraction and knows no boundaries, no stopping points. We will write and create until we have absolutely nothing left to give, not even our own breath. But for as much passion as we have, and as much love as we have for what we do, we are also so very afraid that someone is going to look at the work we’ve done and tell us it’s shit. Pardon my French.
I had a point to this, or at least I think I did when I started writing it. It’s 03:37 here in the Pacific Northwest, so forgive me if my thoughts wander away from me. The only thing I can really tell you is this:
No matter what you do in life, always be open to learning more about yourself, and your craft, and don’t ever go into something thinking that you already know everything there is to know, because you don’t. Even Dr. Who is constantly learning new things.
Swallow your pride, even when you really don’t want to and especially when you know that you’re on the right side of the argument, because sometimes, being right isn’t worth losing what you’re fighting for.
And lastly, being able to compromise might feel like you’ve given in or given up, but really it’s about meeting in the middle and having just enough of what you’re willing to accept. Just remember, do you’re best to make sure that the compromise you make isn’t unfairly balanced one way or the other, or you (or someone else) will end up feeling like you’ve been forced into something you never wanted in the first place.