Some years ago I attended a seminar at a writers’ conference given by a rather famous agent. She began her talk by saying if there was anyone among us who held anything in life more important than being published to stand up. There must have been some two hundred people in the room. A handful stood, me included. The agent said, “You will never be published.”
I thought but didn’t say, because …well … I’m not brave enough, if you slip and break your neck in the parking lot, you’d better hope one of us finds you. Everyone else will be rushing home to brush up the first ten pages of their novel to send them to you!
That snarky thought behind me, I went on to enjoy the seminar. Most importantly, the agent’s question helped me define where my work stands in my life.
I spend many more hours writing than I do with the people I love. Upon reflection, I discovered that even after I stop working for the day, I tend to carry on a dialogue with my characters in my head while pretending to listen to friends and family. Unconsciously, I often did put writing above all else.
Now, thanks to that rather famous agent, I endeavor to be truly present for the people I am lucky enough to have in my life. And for that, I am surely a better writer.