Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What, Me Worry?

I have two confessions to make. First, in my younger days, I read Mad Magazine. That's where I first made the acquaintance of Alfred D. Neuman, whose motto, as shown at left, has lasted through decades of presidential campaigns, economic downturns, and threats to world peace. The idea, of course, is that all these things just went over Neuman's head. Some of us probably wish we could adopt that attitude even now. Or maybe not.

I said I had two confessions. The second is that reading Facebook posts and Twitter tweets of my author friends is driving me crazy. It's been a neat experience, this transition from the world of medicine to being a published writer (please note that I avoided putting the latter term in all caps--modesty, you know). But in order to keep up with the friends I've made along the journey, I've followed them via various avenues of social media. And it's nerve-wracking, I have to tell you.

In any given time span I may see posts about writer-friends sending their latest book to their editor, getting ready for the launch of a blockbuster novel, mentioning an interview in a prestigious publication,  packing for a vacation, signing a multi-book contract, modestly dropping the news that they'd won an award... You get the idea. What I have to remember is that this represents the work product of a double handful of writers, and some excellent ones at that. I'm one writer. I have to tune out what others are doing (except to congratulate them, of course) and concentrate on my work and my world. Otherwise, I'll go crazy trying to keep up with the Joneses (and the Hunts, the Collinses, the Cobles, the Millses, the Bells...you get the picture).

What about you? Whatever your assignment in life, do you do it with one eye on what everyone else is doing? And if you catch yourself doing that, what's your approach to solve it? I hope it's not the same as my friend, Alfred.


Mark Young said...

Richard, I would never have guessed you were a Mad Magazine fan. Go figure! LOL.

As a writer, I find myself too busy trying to finish my own projects to keep up on everyone else's activity. However, I find it encouraging to read about other friends who are having varying degrees of success. Such as learning someone just signed a multi-book exclusive contract with Thomas Nelson Publishers. (Congratulations, Richard).

Now, back to my own writing.

S. Kim Henson said...

Did you just sign a book deal with Thomas Nelson? Now I'm more worried than ever!

I totally relate to everything you said (except Mad Magazine), especially since I'm not like Mark in the former comment. I'm NOT too busy with my own projects because I tend to procrastinate and piddle on FB. I do love to read about others success and congratulate them, however, I then feel so overwhelmed I think what's the use. That's a good excuse to piddle away a few more days.

As you can see, I have a bit of a problem. So, my new plan is to write every day no matter what I read on FB. I went through Jeff Goins' 15 Habits for Great Writers and I'm on track more than I have been in several months. But it sure does help to know writers who are far ahead of where I am on the path have the same concerns.

Thanks for your honesty. And a BIG congrats on your book contract!

Richard Mabry said...

Mark and Kim, Thanks for your comments--interestingly enough, offering polar opposite viewpoints. And thanks for the congratulations.

Mark, best wishes as you continue to plow through the poorly charted waters of e-publication, guided by Jim Bell's excellent new book and your own good sense. Good luck, friend.

Kim, don't worry about what I'm doing. Having signed that contract, I can now worry about finishing the books, doing a good enough job that TN won't drop me in the middle of the contract... And the list (and I suspect, the worry) seems endless.

Jan Cline said...

Yes, I confess I have to occasionally discontinue reading all the things you mentioned. I get caught up in wondering if I will ever achieve the success my writer friends and acquaintances enjoy. It's not that I can't be happy for them...I would just like to be happy for me too. :) I have a lot to be thankful for. I direct a writers conference and get to hob nob with teachers that inspire me!

Deb said...

What? You forgot the Kinnards! Your bad. Seriously, I'm no longer active on FB because it gulps up time during the day I'd rather use for writing. And they say the best publicity for your novels is ... your next novel.

As far as ole Alfred, I read Mad Magazine back in the day. To Alfred's point, I've always admired the quote from one of Herman Wouk's characters, Pug Henry in WAR AND REMEMBRANCE: "I've had a lot of troubles in my life, and most of them never happened."

Richard Mabry said...

Deb, I'll use the standard excuse for omitting your name--lack of time and space.
Love the quote. Actually, it dates back to Mark Twain, who said, "I've been through some terrible things in my life...some of which actually happened." I've had to remind some people of that from time to time.
Thanks for stopping by. And I do try (without success) to keep up with the Kinnards.