Tunnel Vision: How the Successful Writer Thinks

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I was talking with a friend the other day who was explaining her husband’s unfolding career path. He still has quite a chunk of school ahead of him, as well as internships, paperwork, interviews and exams. At the end, he will (hopefully) land his dream job.

“Well,” I said in response, “At least there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

“Yes,” she replied. “But more important, it’s a good tunnel.”

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Profound. Her response immediately made me think of the writing journey. So often as writers, we make the mistake of thinking only of the light at the end of the tunnel. When we finish this draft, when we get published, when we make a name for ourselves, when we can support ourselves fully through writing, then all of this will be worth it.

Guess what? It’s worth it anyway.

If you take any sort of serious stab at writing, you find out quick that most of your journey as a writer is lived in the tunnel. You are constantly creating, typing, revising, thinking, dreaming, scribbling and just generally working away. No blaring trumpets, no big parades, no feature articles and no glamorous photo shoots. Just plain old work.

But there is vision to be found in the tunnel.

Greatness is forged in those moments when you don’t feel like writing and you do it anyway, when you have enough courage to share your work with others, and when you wrestle to find exactly the right words in your fourth revision. You are doing the hard work that qualifies you to tell the world “I am a writer.”

Remember, the destination is to be celebrated, but the journey is to be embraced. Regardless of whether or not we reach the destinations we dream of, it’s a good tunnel. I want to keep writing through it, and I hope you do too.

What inspiration have you found in the midst of your writing journey when things are tough or unglamorous? Leave a comment to encourage others!

 

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