This is an interesting post on recent Best Director Ang Lee’s long, slow path to success. Mostly, it notes the years of his thirties– especially from ’84 to ’90, where despite all the signs of imminent success, nothing was happening. As it says, in ’84 he graduates NYU, and is signed by William Morris. It doesn’t seem unreasonable that things would be happening, and happening soon.
And they weren’t.
Of course, they were eventually, and that’s a wonderful thing. But those six years had to have been quite a struggle.
This is resonating for me, personally, as it’s been almost six years since I worked a “regular” job. Not that I haven’t worked, mind you. I’ve spent every day at my wife’s side making our business grow and thrive. And that, alone, would have been huge. But that wasn’t all at all.
Now, on some level, writing-wise, those six years feel like almost nothing. Intellectually, I know that isn’t true. But knowing that doesn’t change the emotional sense of not enough.
It’s a matter of tangibility, mostly. Because my successes, my strives forward, have been mostly intangibles. Really critical intangibles, mind you. For one, I’m not the writer I was in 2007. I mean this in the best way possible– my skills have improved dramatically. But that’s intangible.
When I talk about tangibility, I mean something you can get your hands on. Which might be a petty distinction to make, but there’s a lizard part of my brain that can’t break away from that marker as meaningful. Just like climbing up a mountain doesn’t “count” the same unless you reach the summit.
This pinpoints why, at least where I’m concerned, self-publishing is ultimately self-defeating. Because it feels like arbitrarily declaring, wherever one is on the journey, “Screw it. THIS is the summit. I did it.” Is that real? Is that honest? It doesn’t feel that way to me.
Because the whole journey up is important. And I remind myself that I’m a lot closer to the top than I was six years ago.