Today January 22, 2019
I’m working at the Seattle Public Library today, on my favorite floor, surrounded by relative quiet, listening to the coffeehouse playlist on Spotify, waiting for the writing mood to settle over me like a soft blanket.
I’ve been thinking about how experts are rarely expert. We writers sit at the feet of wealthier writers and ask them for their secrets. They tell us that adverbs are the devil, or that you must plan, or how you should never plan, and depending upon how much you like the expert, you might take what they say as truth, or dismiss it as opinion.
We spend a lot of time asking, listening, and worrying that we’re not doing it right.
I don’t blame the experts for trying to be helpful. But I’ve come to see “success” as an emergent property, it arises spontaneously from the underlying conditions and cannot be directly manufactured. My success isn’t like yours, and yours isn’t like mine, and we each have our own unique qualities which add up to something.
I think it’s better to stop chasing the externals, the expectations, the shiny statues that are supposed to denote acclaim, and to sit at the library and listen to your inner voice when she tells you when to begin.
I think I hear her calling.