Saturday, August 25, 2012

Finding Waldo

By Keith N Fisher

I sat on my porch the other day chatting with my friend about the many facets of life. During the course of our discussion, I discovered I’ve held on to many dreams over the years. Some came true, others fell by the wayside, but all of them merited my undivided attention while I dreamed.

Always, my dreams beget goals, which turned into plans that forced me to action. I used to lye awake at night working out the details. Now, my writing goals and wishes consume most of my thoughts. My characters keep me awake at night, as I try to craft the manuscript that will propel me toward my goal.

It occurred to me that we sometimes put too much time and energy into our dreams. Have you ever seen the Where’s Waldo? Books? Each page is a masterful collage painting of people and things designed to hide the Waldo character. Your job as a reader is to find the hidden character on the page.

Often, a scouring search turns into an all consuming quest to find that little guy. My daughter had severalsimilar books called I Spy where you’re given a list of things to find before you turn the page. The searches kept us busy for hours, but left us with time spent with each other and not much else accomplished.

Several of the writers I know, including myself, are like the readers of those books. We dream and plan. We work hard plotting and crafting, trying to write the perfect manuscript. We sweat blood during lean times and find joy in winning a writing contest. Through it all, our all consuming goal is to find Waldo and get our dreams fulfilled.

But what, then?

I’ve known published authors who revel in their success, then founder, because their dreams were brighter than the reality. They spent many hours looking for the little guy on the page and were disappointed when they found him.

My advice for me, and you, is to enjoy the journey. Take time to look up from the page. Don’t fall victim to the Things will be different when I get this manuscript published syndrome. Finding Waldo can be a glorious thing, but finding Waldo isn’t everything, and it can be so much better if you have someone to share it with.

Writing is often a solitary thing. We dream in private and work in silence. The key is in finding more things to dream about. Spend time with other, non-writing, goals and be prepared for when you find Waldo.