Life’s metric – Straight and Narrow or Hills and Valleys?

IMG_5027Recently I responded to a follow-up from Paul Dorset who interviewed me back in May for his Indie Author Interview series. Paul asked if the writing life had been good to me this year. This got me thinking about the zigzag of writing. According to Duotrope, I have a 22.2% acceptance rate, which the site tells me is better than average for users submitting to the same type of markets. I’ve submitted to about twenty markets and about a quarter of what I sent out published. Metrics are useful, and metrics need definition. If the metric is solely published or rejected – straight and narrow rubric of assessment – 22.2% doesn’t seem all that good when 100% is far at the other end. However, if the metric definition is writing produced, revised, drafted as well as submitted, published, and rejected plus craft study in a writing group, online course, or attending a conference, writing related marketing – Hills and Valleys of writing related activities – that one out of five pieces published seems a pretty good accomplishment in context of 20% of my time with the family, 20% of my time volunteering with community organizations, 20% of the time with self-development and craft related work, 20% of my time at the grindstone of production with 10% for submitting and marketing and 10% for whatever distraction that is all about me that I want. (World of Warcraft, catching up with TIVO, mindless surfing on the net, rugby) Looking at my writing life this way makes September, where I was home from traveling maybe 5 days the entire month and thus accomplished no actual production done – balanced with May through August where I attended not one, but two writing conferences, wrote and revised a dozen or so new poems, and sent out a slew of work – means September was a in the valley of writing month while the summer I was scaling the hills. Those acceptances that came periodically? Those are the standing at the crest of the hill and marveling at the scenery surrounding, the victory after the toil.

So, keep your writing life in perspective. Define the metric that you are measuring your life and work with and keep it all in context.

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