Recently my husband graduated with his master’s degree in exercise physiology. It was a big moment – he had to work really hard, especially at the end when he was getting up every morning at 3am to work on his grad project and study for his remaining class, plus help me run our dog business, but he made it through. Right afterwards, though, he kept getting The Question.
You all know the one. “What now?”
Sean’s actually really happy doing what he’s been doing – running and walking dogs and teaching yoga. The fact that he now has his master’s degree hasn’t really changed anything for him, except that it might open up some doors in the future and lead to other opportunities farther down the road. This makes it difficult for him to tell people what’s next. No one wants to hear, “I’ll continue doing what I’ve been doing.” They want to hear exciting new plans and goals.
I started thinking about how often we ask ourselves this question in everything. Whenever we reach a goal, is it always “what’s next?” Or do we take time to just be happy that we’ve made some sort of achievement?
Especially as writers, I think it’s easy to get caught up in the “what’s next” process. Last year when I went to the Backspace Writer’s Conference, our keynote speaker, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, gave a great speech about being a happy writer. She talked about unhappy writers, the people who would say, “if I could just get an agent, I’d be happy,” and then once that happens it becomes, “if I could just get a book deal,” and then “if I can just make it on the bestseller list,” and on and on and on. There’s always going to be something else. She told us to be happy just writing, since that’s what it’s really all about anyways.
In order to make this a career, I think there is that happy medium we all have to walk. Things usually don’t just happen on their own unless we make them happen, so it’s important to keep an eye on the future, to figure out that next book or that next step, but at the same time I think Lauren Baratz-Logsted, and Sean, too, have the right idea. Think about the down-the-road opportunities, but don’t forget to enjoy the present, and be happy doing what you’re doing now. Be happy just writing.
What do you think?
And speaking of what’s next…tomorrow will be our first “Imaginary Thursday” installment with our blog guest, Stephanie Garber. She’ll be joining us here at Mystic Cooking HQ for a while and taking over Thursday’s posts, so definitely tune in to check those out! 🙂