I’ve been thinking a lot about investing.
Not about money. Hearing words like rollover and portfolio and 401k options make my eyes glaze over, much like when people attempt to explain how the Bears did so well last year only to supersuck at the Superbowl.
Congratulations, by the way, to all you New Yorkers. I’m not bitter.
No, I’ve been thinking about investments in term of time. I just finished a game which I thought I was going to win (and I was proud too, because I had done the whole thing without cheating. Well, okay, maybe just a little. But it was a hint, I swear.) but just as I got to the end, I realized I didn’t have all the items I needed. I couldn’t go forward without it, and the game wouldn’t let me go back to retrieve that missing item. So I was stuck, literally. Oh sure, I can go back and play the game again, but you know what? After all that time I put into it, I just didn’t have the energy to play it again. But it’s my nature to not give up, so I’m going to wait a couple of days before trying again, just so I can have the satisfaction of winning.
Writing is like that, sometimes. We get ideas for stories that we absolutely have to put down. We work on our novels, writing, revising, editing, re-editing, re-revising, spell-checking, giving it to our readers, ripping out endings, writing up new ones, re-sending it our readers, re-re-re-editing, re-re-re-revising, until we get the stories as perfect as we can get it.
And then, we get so sick of the story, we sit on it for a while.
It’s not like giving up. It’s always good to put away something for a bit so you can look at it through new eyes. But here’s another way to consider it…you’re giving the story a chance to work for you. Think on it–while you concentrate on something else, your story is sitting on the back of your mind. Percolating. Getting stronger. Gaining more interest, so to speak. It’s up to you to decide when to pull the story out again to work on it. Pull it out too soon, and you lose the benefit of the passage of time. Leave it for too long–and you’ll actually lose interest (haha…maybe I do have a little handle on money-making after all) and the story sits in the drawer, never able to earn its full potential.
The investment analogy can also be carried over to when the story is done and gets sent out to markets. Even with long response times or form rejection letters, every story that you submitted is working for you, bringing in more interest (of an editor)–and if it doesn’t, you send it to the next market. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, an editor will tell you why the story is rejected, which will help you make the story stronger, and over time, actually does capture the interest of someone who wants it.
That’s what I like about writing. It’s not like those get-quick-rich schemes that promises lots of money with a minimum of effort. You have to work hard at it, and it takes time. Lots of time. But the effort is worth it, in many cases. You get a return of–at the minimum, the satisfaction of writing a story. At the maximum, it gets published.
Over the past couple of months, I sold three short stories, all of which will be published within the next couple of months. Which is wild, considering that I haven’t written a thing since November–I’ve been concentrating on getting my house ready to sell. But it’s nice to know that even when I’m unable to write, the stories I have floating around various markets are still working for me.
That’s the type of investment that makes it all worthwhile.