The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story. Ursula Le Guin
I think that creative people struggle with the idea of recognition.
There is something about feeling like a show off and being made to feel ashamed, that is confusing.
We are not supposed to admit we want to be recognized and praised and rewarded and seen and understood.
Recognition is a big part of how an artist moves forward in the world.
If no one sees your paintings, or no one reads your words it’s hard to keep going.
If no one recognizes your work is of merit it is hard to keep working.
Recognition is the light that helps us see where we are going when the road is dark.
And it hurts and confuses us when our work goes unrecognized.
And we can become resentful and jealous when we see others who are,
successful, loved, appreciated; their work acknowledged and praised.
I thought about Ursula le Guin’s quote at the top of this post and I thought Yes.
I would love to have readers.
I would love to liberate my little black marks, and send them flying
into the hearts and minds of my audience.
I would love to be adored.
It would be grand. So would large sums of money pouring daily into my bank account.
Normally I would not admit any of this. Too embarrassing. Too egotistical.
But I do admit it. All of it. I admit how I would swoon to be recognized,
and rewarded for the effort I make as an artist.
I shrink and shrivel in despair when I am ignored.
So having admitted this to the world or at least to the four or five people
who will see this post–
I ask myself how to achieve this? Let me think. Hmmmm?
Excuse me, I am thinking. Uh??????
Oh Gawd. Yikes. I dunno! I have no idea.
Because– if I think about the murky world of achieving success-
my brain immediately kicks into a coma like state.
I don’t need a coma like state right now.
I am trying to write a blog post and I am trying to write a play.
And luckily I have already come to terms with this question.
I have the answer. It’s simple.
The “hows” of being recognized, acclaimed, loved etc– are a waste of time.
The “how to be successful strategies” will usually result in defeat.
We will come up with lots of wrong “hows” and then feel as if we have
failed if the “hows” don’t work. It’s not about the hows.
God, Fate, life, the mysterious forces of the universe will take care of the “hows”
My job is not to put time into thinking how I will be recognized for my work
My job is to do the work. I don’t need to think for one second about how to achieve recognition.
The thing I need to think about is what is my story about?
At least for now. What is my character’s name?
What is her relationship with her husband, brother, mother etc.?
What is my character doing right now? What hilarious thing will she say next?
What will happen in the end to my character? Is she going to die or–
will they discover a miraculous cure just in time?
Am I in love with my characters?
If not why? Am I excited by my story?
My concern with recognition is not within my power to influence.
Not really, not now. Because what I want to be recognized for– is really good work.
Sometimes I wonder if I should be trying harder to get more readers for this blog.
I don’t have many fans or followers and I could be disheartened by that.
But I am not actually devoted to writing blog posts that bring waves of readers to my site.
Not that I wouldn’t love that–but that is not my true goal.
And I think you have to be clear on the true goal and it can’t be recognition.
I have looked at the sites that tell you how to be a successful blogger
And I am not following their advice. I can’t.
Because it matters to me what I am recognized for if I am ever so blessed to be recognized.
Sure Writing the 10 best ways to have multiple orgasms while writing a novel
could very well drive traffic to my blog. So would “lose weight while writing”.
That is not what I want to do. That is not my work.
So I will continue to come humbly to the work–that I really love and want to do–
quietly recognizing myself and acclaiming myself and my commitment
to tell my stories in my own voice and build my craft as a writer.
I will shine my own light on my own path, and stay on the path,
dark and lonely as it may be–as diligently and devotedly as I can.
Even if diligence is sporadic–with breaks and rests and endless interruptions and delays.
I will stay on the path and let the “hows” of recognition take care of themselves.