April 28, 2014

Contentment on Your Writing Journey

By Stacy Voss

I am a writer. I also speak about gratitude and contentment. Yes, the two seem mutually exclusive, don’t they? The process of writing—or more specifically, getting our writing published—is an arena filled with more competition, more obstacles and let’s admit it, more rejections than ever before. How could one ever find contentment in the midst of that?

I’ve discovered the answer begins by clearly understanding why I write. If my whole goal is to get my name in print or to have so many publications by a certain date, then there’s a good chance I will fail because these goals are affected by external factors. Publishing houses might merge or cut their budgets. Maybe a magazine already accepted an article similar to mine, but they haven’t run it yet. Who knows what the reason might be, but the reality is that sometimes our writing is turned down for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with our writing!

So what are we to do? We can create goals that aren’t dependent upon anything other than ourselves. That can look different for everybody. Perhaps your goal is to write for 15 minutes every day. Maybe it’s to submit two articles a month (yes, I saidsubmit, regardless of the outcome). Or maybe your goals aren’t number driven, but are result-oriented. I know of a literary agent who wrote an entire novel with the hopes that his son would read it and would re-evaluate the way he was living. And guess what? He did! No one other than this guy read the work: a novel read by an audience of one. A hugely successful novel, that is. My definition of success is if my writing and/or speaking causes someone to draw closer to God. It’s that simple.

And yet it isn’t.

Let’s be honest. We live in a number-oriented, goal-driven society. We can create these internal goals, yet the external pressures can still weigh us down, especially as we get a rejection letter. Again. So let’s put some numbers to it. Baseball numbers, that is.

Three hundred is a great batting record and is something players strive for. But what does that number mean? Simply, it states that for every 10 pitches, a batter will hit three. Yes, three. So what if you get seven rejection letters? Does it mean you’re a failure? Hardly! It just means you’re getting closer to that acceptance (but it’s also a good opportunity to have someone else review your work if you haven’t already). I keep an excel spreadsheet tracking which articles I’ve sent where and what their status is. Last, I checked, I was right around having 30% of my articles published. That means there are several sitting on my computer unseen by anyone but an editor and myself, yet there are others that have been read by audiences around the world. And you know what?

I’m quite content.
Stacy Voss is starting a gratitude revolution. She coined the word “Gratimoments,” which enrich hearts and minds through gratitude. She frequently posts her Gratimoments on Facebook and Twitter, and encourages others to do the same. She is an author and speaker known for using story to teach compelling principles with authenticity and vulnerability. She encourages others to “See Life Differently. Live Courageously” at Seize the Gratimoment mugs and other gratitude-related merchandise are available at . Stacy lives in Colorado with her two energetic kids and a tender black lab. Connect with her at or on twitter:@StacyVoss

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