Sometimes, when thinking of my wife and myself, I'd name our tribe the pragmatists. That wasn't always our tribe but somewhere in the last fifteen to twenty years, we migrated to that tribe.
The tribe has simple rules. Planning ahead is a big part of it. That results in guidelines like, "Thou shalt not run out of toilet paper." It also drives us to move with purpose.
Moving with purpose can be helpeful but shortcomings abound. We're abysmal at being spontaneous. We can become paralyzed by overthinking and overplanning. Once we do make a decision, we roll.
I'm more apt to be the roller on large matters, and she's the roller on smaller matters. Part of my operating system says, don't worry about the details, an outgrowth of my large view approach. She prefers all details be addressed before moving forward. As we've aged, we've learned what to do with our shortcomings to help ourselves and get things done. It's not a perfect system. We're always seeking balance. It's biggest shortcoming, besides the lack of spontaneity, is when a matter falls between large and small. Medium matters cause us problems.
You could say, we sweat the medium stuff.
Being a person that likes to move with purpose, I'm also impatience. Waiting bugs me to no end. I'd rather drive around a traffic jam rather than wait patiently for it to unjam and move forward. That's also part of my 'ignore the details' piece. I'm familiar with these as weaknesses and counsel myself to be patient. I know that driving around a traffic jam rarely saves anything. I do it because it keeps me moving forward.
This all comes together and collapses when it comes to my writing life.
I write organically, with purpose, letting the story flow. One word stumbles after another. After enough have stumbled into some semblance of formation, I return and provide greater order, a repetitive process that I don't find at all tedious. I'm in control of it and it has a purpose.
But submitting things remove control. It forces me to be patient and to wait for someone else to make up their mind about what they like and do like.
I've built it up to an analogy. I'm in line. The place I submitted to is the person ahead of me. We're at some ice cream shop with a thousand flavors. I'm waiting for them to pick a flavor. They're mulling all of the options. I can hear their voices as they mutter to themselves, "I like chocolate and vanilla but maybe I'll try something different today. What do they have that's different? Oooo, sorbet. I like sorbet. Lemon sorbet...haven't had lemon sorbet in a while. Maybe I'll go with yogurt. They have non-fat yogurt. What flavor is that? May I taste that one? Oh, has nuts, don't like nuts in my ice cream. What's the difference between a cup and a bowl? Perhaps I'll have a cone today. They have waffle cones. Or, but there are the old fashioned cones. Perhaps I'll have that. Oh, look, they have sundaes.
"Maybe I'll have a sundae today."
See, I can't take it. How long will I stand there, waiting in line behind them? It's a matter of how badly I want ice cream.
On publishing, how long will I be willing to wait to hear back from publishers or agents? It depends on how badly I want published.
But the thing is, while this is happening in one ice cream shop, there are other ice cream venues nearby. I don't need to stand in line and wait for the people in line ahead of me to make their decision. I can shrug them off and go to another place.
Oh, look, here's a self-serve place.
I think I'll go there.
That's why I am self-publishing. It might bite me in the ass someday. That's an expression that I love although, thinking literally, I'm curious about its origins.
The expression's origin is a digression, though. Every decision can bite you in the ass someday. I've learned not to worry about them. I do my best to investigate and make a plan based on how I see the situation.
Sometime I look back on my decisions with a tincture of regret. I've learned, though, that I favor moving with purpose. That's why I'll pursue digital self-publishing, like Smashwords.
It'll be an experience, a way to add to my wealth of understanding about how the world works. It may reward me and it may not. At this point, I see it as an expedient way to get published and free me to write more.
It's just like going to the store. Make a list, shop from the list. Do I need toilet paper this week? No, I have plenty.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com