I've mentioned before that I attended an art residency in Maine last summer, and that I often took a break from writing to wander the grounds and take pictures. The little guy in the picture caught my eye and for me, at least, summarized the writing life perfectly. Considering where he took root, he has no reasonable expectation for success. (Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.) Yet there he is--thriving.
Many of us are planted, for the moment at least, in a less-than-hospitable place to write. We have jobs, a spouse and children to nurture, and perhaps, as in my case, you're a caregiver to grandchildren. There are outside activities--community work, church, sports, and friends--to consider as well. Finding time to write, edit, submit, edit some more, write some more, market, and all the other myriad functions of a successful writer is next to impossible.
Yet we do. We do because the urge to thrive is strong. We find ways to use our circumstances to our advantage. We ignore the near impossibility of being a well-known, sought after, world-renowned author and forge ahead anyway. Maybe most importantly, we recognize that we may never reach the pinnacle of the publishing world, but that makes us no less important or talented. We still have a message for our readers. Our work is valuable whether it reaches two people or two billion people. Just as the little pine tree sprout will probably never become a towering pine, we may never become Pulitzer Prize winners. Yes, recognition and money are nice rewards for our efforts, but too often talented writers are left in the dust and never achieve those rewards.
So what do we do? We settle ourselves down in the dust, find a place to take root, and do our best to thrive. Eventually the dust clears and sometimes the rock and the hard place we're caught in crack just enough to let us make our move. In the meantime, we write. We influence others with our words. We thrive where we are planted.
Why? Because it's what we do.