Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Getting What You Want

This is not going to be a post on how to get what you want. Let me make that absolutely clear, right up front. I don't get what I want, so I don't see why you would think I could advise you in this area.

It's just that I find it curious that I seem to get what I want, when I no longer want it, or when I didn't know I wanted it. But I never get what I want, when I want it. I find that interesting. It makes me wonder precisely what mechanism is at work there, because I've gone through all kinds of positive thinking seminars (forced on me under the guise of work-related training by my supervisors...hmm...does that mean they think I'm a pessimist?) and all the positive thinking seminars tell you to, well, think positive. Envision your goal. Envision yourself successfully attaining your goal. Envision hurling yourself off the balcony of your apartment building because you can't stand even ONE MORE person telling you in a chirpy voice that if you would just visualize it, you could attain your goals.

On what planet does that work? The blonde, peppy cheerleader planet?

Sporadically, I DO envision myself attaining my goals. And I do that, not just for a day, or a week, but years at a time. My limit seems to be five bloody, long years of envisioning a goal before I give in to my natural pessimism and realize it just ain't gonna happen, babe. And I give up.

So, still wanting to be a successful writer, I started envisioning that. Oh, not the walking through the airport and having people thrust books for you to sign into your hands, but the nice, you're gardening and get a new idea for a book you just know your editor (you have an editor!) will love sort of envisioning. I did that envisioning in college, but quit when I realized I needed to earn money if I was going to live long enough to continue envisioning anything. Then, ten years ago, I started envisioning again. This is the longest envisioning I've done. I think ten years is quite long. I wonder what those chirpy-voiced seminar instructors would say. I mean, were they able to keep envisioning something positively for ten freakin' years without any success?

What worries me and yet give me a strange feeling of hope is that I'm starting to feel tired with all this envisioning.

This gives me hope because it seems whenever I give up, I get what I want. Not through envisioning--no, but through simple despair.

When I first started working for a living, it didn't take me long to realize that I liked computers, and specifically operating systems. I wanted to be a systems administrator. So, I worked for 25 years in the computer field with some intersections with systems administration, but not as the enterprise systems administrator. Okay, so I finally get...tired...and realize I'm about 8 years away from retirement and I don't want this anymore because it's a lot of responsibility and for the first time in my career, I'm thinking it would be nice to slow down a little and not be the one responsible for digesting all the constant changes, planning out the deployments and then being up late at night and on weekends getting new operating systems installed and working, or answering HELP! calls from lower level systems administrator.

So, what happens? Right when I'm ready to throw in the towel and enjoy my last few years of work at a slightly less frantic/overworked rate, I get a job as an Enterprise Administrator. And here I am, planning a large project where I'll be working 18-20 hour days over the weekend and up-coming holiday, to get the first phase of a project completed. This is the job I always wanted. I have a dream boss. I'm a member of a great team. But, this isn't what I really want anymore, because I'd like more time to devote to other things such as gardening and writing.


Then, I remember back in the early 90's, I realized, very belatedly, that I actually would like to get married at least once in my life. I frantically dated for a few years, got completely burned out, and just quit. I just couldn't take the dating anymore, trying to be freakin' nice and not quite so intelligent, and all the rest. I decided this was it, I was going to be alone until I died. Then I met my husband and got married. What is with that?

So now here I am, reaching the end of my writing tether. I'm tired of working long hours on my paying job, then logging back onto my computer to work several more hours writing. I'm tired of trying to make my heros and heroines "sympathetic". I'm exhausted trying to "tone down" my voice so that it's not quite so obnoxious and smart-ass, and I'm trying to include enough descriptions and internal dialog so that readers actually know what is going on. (I, personally, believe that the readers get enough from the dialog and actions to know what is going on, if they chose to think about it, but apparently most chose not to think--see--I'm trying not to be a complete intellectual snob, but there it is. I am. But, not the type of intellectual snob who thinks flinging paint at a canvas makes ART and if you can't see that, then you're simply not understanding what the artist is trying to convey. In that instance, I believe what the artist is trying to convey is that they want to get a lot of money for minimal or no effort, and convince everyone they are a genius when in reality, they have a hard time remembering how to flush the toilet. So, at least I'm not that kind of an intellectual snob.)

Interestingly enough, I also now have an agent. Sigh. Does this mean that the week I chuck it all in and go out and play instead of spending an extra 3 hours each night writing at the computer, I'll get a call from my agent telling me that she's gotten an offer?

If I chuck it all in now, will I get that call faster?
Ahhh, the power of pessimistic thinking...

Maybe I should teach a seminar on chucking it all in. Maybe I could become rich and famous.
Want to be Successful? Forget it! The Pessimist's Guide to Success!
Tired of working long hours with no rewards or recognition? Tired of rejection? Just plain tired? Then you need this course! All you have to do is QUIT TRYING! Park your lazy butt on the sofa and watch a few hours of television! Take a nap! Forget trying to excel! Believe in the zen of despair! Give it up NOW! Why wait a minute longer? The faster you give up, the faster you'll get what you no longer want! It's a miracle!

For just $19.95, I'll send you the complete kit: The Pessimist's Guide to Success! including the poster of your choice from, a mug (to hold all that coffee you no longer need to drink), and a book with a complete life plan on meeting your goals by giving up on them. But hurry - this is a limited time offer. By the time you read this, I'll have already given up on this plan and resigned myself to an old age riddled with despair and cans of cat food (or maybe dog food, because I think you get more for less with dog food...)

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