Well, you see how that ended out. She wound out with a CPA in my brother, and a writer in me. The closest I ever got to “Music Box Dancer” was to make it the tune on the music box in Anywhere But Here that triggered the demon to take over. I liked playing the piano, but didn’t have the talent to do much better than basic. I did a little better playing the flute in high school and college band, but I peaked out at mediocrity, and couldn’t seem to break through the plateau. Eventually, I had to accept the fact that I’m not a musician and move on to find out what I am. And even that can evolve as roles and circumstances change with life seasons and you discover new things.
We all have those goals that we fail to meet. It’s usually the result of limits that we didn’t realize we had: talent, time, opportunity, or resources. Perhaps, in some cases it’s that we realize we don’t like it as much as we thought we would. I think this was part of the reason for my musical failure. I liked it, but I wasn’t willing to devote the time to practice that would be required to be excellent because there were other things (like school) that I wanted to do well at. But mostly, it comes down to hitting wall that we can’t seem to break through. The secret is to discern when to persevere and when to gain wisdom and let go. And that, in itself, is usually a valuable lesson that helps us discover a lot about ourselves.
Still, it hurts to fail. Every time I run into resistance, I call it a “Music Box Dancer” moment. And as you’ve probably guessed, I had one recently: all of the short stories I’ve submitted for publication have been rejected (save one, that I’m really praying over). The reviews are ok at best on Writing.com, so I’m obviously still “missing the mark” somewhere in this process. Worse yet, I’m stumped. I don’t have any new story ideas, and this writer’s block is weighing me down. Life without writing is just boring. I was working on a book in The Earthside Box Set (and other writing endeavors) constantly for five years. To not have a novel (or some writing venture) in progress now seems wrong.
These are not the kinds of things you see posted on Facebook.
If I put it in proper perspective after prayer, I realize that I underestimated how much time and effort it would take to write good short stories. They have to be crafted like novels do; it’s just a different process and product. I think I stumbled over the fact that “short” only refers to the length of the piece, and not the effort or time required to learn it and do it well. And, of course, writing is a rejection heavy business. I haven’t dealt with that much over the past few years with novels and self publishing, but I’m back in it now, so back to dusting off and moving on. It happens.
I believe this is a stumble, not a failure. Life has slow seasons, and this is one for me. Heck, there are probably people out there whose life is uncontrollable drama that would consider it a miracle to be in the place I’m at. It’s all a matter of perspective. I need to shut off that darn music box and project gratitude over being in a quiet place in life!
So let’s put that music box away and reinflate that balloon. My ebook sales have actually increased, so obviously something is working. And unlike my lack of musical talent, I know that the muse will come back. He always does. It’s just a matter of time. That, and realizing that "novel writing" and "short story writing" are two different modes that I'm going to have to learn how to handle - and that will take some time.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.