“I may never get the economic windfall, but I will have a bookshelf full of books that I’m proud of.”
Alex Bledsoe, a writer friend of mine, said this as we enjoyed our weekly coffee (mine with caffeine, his without).
His books, by the way, are very successful and have many fans, including me. They’re always well-written, enjoyable, unique, and stay true to the worlds that he has created. And I say that not as a fan or as a friend, but as someone who enjoys well-written and entertaining books.
But this blog isn’t about his books. It’s about what he said. (Note: If you forgot what he said, you can find it right at the beginning of this post.)
I’ve heard something like that from a lot of people in my life. I’ve said it myself many times. Usually those times when I find out that one of my plays sold 2 copies. In an entire year. Then I say something like, “I find the true value to be in the quality of my work” to those around me or to complete strangers, who would look at me and say “What?”
I’m just kidding. I don’t talk to strangers.
Anyway, if no one’s around, I might just look in the mirror and say it to my reflection. The problem is, I never actually believe it. The same way I don’t believe everyone else who’s ever said it to me about their work. We say it because we want it to be true, but it’s not. Saying “All that really matters is that I’m proud of the work I’ve done” has never rung true for me. Until that morning.
And as I finished my delicious cinnamon roll, I realized that I believed Alex. That that really is where he finds value. That the most important thing is being proud of the work you’ve done. If you’re proud of what you created, whether it’s a book, a play, or cooking a really good dinner, the rest really doesn’t matter.
Perhaps that’s the way it should be. Finding your value in something you control and not in something you have very little control over.
Having a bookshelf full of plays that I’m proud of sounds really awesome. Don’t get me wrong, so would selling a billion copies and performances of my plays. Much better than . . . two. But I’ll focus on the bookshelf thing. I mean, plays are smaller books, so filling a bookshelf with my plays is going to take a while. Unless it’s a really tiny bookshelf.
Here it is. Steven's blog, where his thoughts about things are revealed. Good luck.