Please welcome today’s guest, Tamsin Silver. Tamsin is the author of the Windfire urban fantasy series, and has recently begun work on the thrilling new web series Skye of the Damned. We’re very excited to have her here today!
We as artists can sometimes lose focus on the positive. We become so wrapped up in the work, the money, or the stress that comes from the excess of the first and the lack of the second, that we fail to really see our achievements. We also have a tendency to be unable to see our accomplishments as being a success when we feel we have not reached our goal. They become stepping-stones, not wins, but just stones in our path that feel stuck in our shoe. Because of this, we forget to rejoice over the things we have done.
I have this affliction. Always have. No matter how far I push myself, it’s not far enough. I’ve not done enough. I’m not successful enough. I know I’m not alone. Artists of all kinds, be they writers, painters, dancers, actors, and so forth, sit with me on the F-Train: Fail/Forget/Fret. Everyone is further than us and so we fail to acknowledge the things we’ve done as worthy of praise/joy, we forget how far we have traveled on our journey, and we fret that we’ll never reach our goal.
What we need to do, myself included, is get on the R-Train: Remember/Realize/Rejoice. It’s vital that we remember that we are unique and amazing in and of ourselves. We must realize that not everyone can do what we do AND the pace in which we do it, is exactly right for us. Lastly, we must rejoice in our accomplishments. This is so very important.
I bring this up today because I had a good laugh at myself on Saturday. We were on set, filming Skye of the Damned (we were around hour six of our day) and one of my actors asked about changing/fixing a line. Being in director mode, my first thought was, “What can I alter that the writer won’t mind/notice?” Then I laughed and said, “Bloody hell, I am the damn writer!” And for a moment I sort of marveled at what we were doing. We were filming a powerful scene with amazing actors who were bringing their talent and time (for no pay) to all to these roles and words…and they were my creation. Not someone else’s, mine. I sat and had a moment.
Then it was gone and we filmed for six more hours. Ha! Then on Monday, I was back on the F-Train with my woes of money for the show. I sat and fretted about lost locations and timeline, as a few key actors of the cast will not be available to film from September through to the end of the year and we may not get everything done by then due to money. I began to feel like a failure. But I’m not. I’m doing what I can. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Not just with this show, but with my books. Oh yes, I haven’t forgotten that I wanted book five out by October. Will I try? Sure. Will it happen? Who knows! And I have to be all right with that. I need to be okay with me or I’ll get nowhere fast.
You need to be okay with you, too. No matter where you are in your artistic endeavors, you need to remember how far you’ve come. It’s imperative to realize how amazing your accomplishments are, big or small, and you need to sit back and rejoice in those things…let them wash over you and enjoy them.
As we all know, following your dreams and doing what you love does not always pay the bills. Surprisingly enough, that is true even for some successful authors who have contracts with major publishers. Some of them have full or part time jobs to stay afloat. So stop banging your head against that proverbial wall. Continue to strive for where you want to be, push yourself to get there, but don’t beat yourself up for not getting there fast enough, compare yourself to others too closely, or judge yourself too harshly. The critics will do that enough, don’t do it for them.
So get on the R-Train. Try to stay there. It will improve your work as well as how you feel about you and your craft. If you accidentally get on the wrong train…as a proud New Yorker I can tell you, train transfers aren’t always simple, or a short venture, but if you are willing to put forth the effort, it is possible.
Write Hard! -Tamsin
P.S. As today is my birthday, here…have a free short story! Head to http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TamsinSilver and select Heroes Square, Part One of the Clandestine Conflict short story series. Use Code: QK48G to download an e-copy in any file format you wish (code good through Aug. 9th) and here’s the newest picture of the SKYE cast! It’s my fave pic of my team!
EXTRA NOTE I received this text from a friend of mine the day before we began shooting for Skye of the Damned. I wasn’t sure if I should share it, but then thought, “We all need friends like this. I want to celebrate that I have one.” I hope you have one, too. She is one of 3 women in my life who smack me in the head from time to time to remind me to celebrate who I am. Here is what she wrote:
“I just want to point out that most people who have full time jobs go home afterward and watch TV. They don’t write books and create web series’ from scratch. They don’t join writing groups, go to the gym, self-publish, or cast/write/fundraise/direct. You’re amazing and I hope you know that. ”