No Mile Along The Journey Is Wasted

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 1:35 pm

No Mile Along The Journey Is Wasted

Post by rmabry » October 4th, 2010, 5:04 pm

My children must have hated some of our family road trips. From the moment we were out of the driveway with me behind the wheel, I was focused on my goal: getting there. Bathroom stops were grudging, food consumed at a gallop. It couldn’t have been easy for my sweet, patient wife. After it was much too late for the “kids”—who could no longer be called that—to reap the benefits, I discovered that the journey is as much a part of the trip as anything.

Some writers approach their art in the same way. Work really hard, keep your eyes straight ahead, never stop to look at the scenery, pay no attention to the people you encounter along the way, think only about “getting there.” But it doesn’t have to work like that…and that’s good. Because taking time along the way is never wasted. The journey is a wonderful part of the trip.

Like a lot of neophytes, I attended my first writer’s conference hoping to catch the attention of an agent or editor, submit my work, and be published soon thereafter. By the second day, I’d given up that idea and started to enjoy the experience of meeting fellow writers, becoming acquainted with well-known authors (who, I discovered, were pretty much real folks), and finding that editors and agents weren’t so fearsome and some of them were even fun. I was beginning to focus on the trip, not the destination. And the people I met along the way were some of the nicest I’ve ever encountered.

For years I worked to learn the craft, but I also decided to work on becoming a member of the writing community. I kept in touch with the people I’d met. I made a point of speaking to writers, editors, and agents as our paths crossed again. Some of them even remembered my name. There were times that I attended a conference or a meeting for the sheer joy of fellowship, with no hope of achieving anything other than refreshing my soul and recharging my writing batteries.

Did anything come of this? One of the editors with whom I became friends at my first conference ended up being my agent. My relationships with established authors allowed me to approach some of them for possible endorsements. Several of the same editors who passed on some of my early work (and, in retrospect, with good reason) rejoiced with me when I told them I had a contract. And a myriad of fellow writers, at various stages along their own road to publication, were nothing but gracious in their congratulations. All because I’d taken the time to relate to them as friends and colleagues, not as someone whom I could use to achieve my goals.

So, to all of you who are on the journey to publication, wherever you happen to be located right now, please remember to pull into a rest stop from time to time. Meet some people. Enjoy the fellowship. You’ll find it’s one of the neatest parts of this thing they call writing.

Dr. Richard Mabry is the author of one non-fiction book, The Tender Scar (Kregel, 2006) and two novels of medical suspense, Code Blue and Medical Error (both published by Abingdon in 2010).

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Joined: February 12th, 2010, 7:34 pm

Re: No Mile Along The Journey Is Wasted

Post by Steppe » October 14th, 2010, 1:59 am

So apropos this is towards the end of the cycle of submissions.
Very thoughtful submission.

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