I ran across this word reading a blog. I forget where. The dictionary defines ephemeral as something that lasts a very short time. It certainly applies to our lives. No one lives forever. Anything can happen at any given moment. We could die of a heart attack, get hit by a car, fall off a cliff, drown in a raging river. Sorry for being so morbid. The point is that we are not promised tomorrow or the next day, week, month, or year. Yet we make so many long-term plans. That’s not to say we shouldn’t plan for our future, but we need not to worry about what tomorrow will bring. We’ll only bring more stress upon ourselves. The future is not set in stone. The best thing we can do is live for today, let tomorrow worry about itself.
So, how does this apply to writing? As writers, we need to understand that our career is not guaranteed longevity. People assume that once we have a book published, we’ve made it. Sure, we may be lucky to have a book or two published. Some authors may enjoy the fruits of having one bestseller after another and may be able to live off the money from sales, like J. K. Rowling and Stephen King. But just because we have a book to two published doesn’t mean we have a full-fledged career. We rest on our laurels way too often. I know I’m guilty of this. I had a poem and short story published in a local college magazine. For a few years, I took pride in it, not realizing that there were still things I could improve upon.
I know this may sound obvious. Like our lives, our writing career is fleeting. But there is one thing that is eternal: the books we publish. There is a reason why books like Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, and Romeo and Juliet are still read to this date. The themes are universal, the characters are memorable, and the stories somehow transcend time. We all want to craft stories that will still be remember long after we’re gone. But no one knows what the future will hold. If even J. K. Rowling and Veronica Roth will know whether their series of books will stand the test of time, what makes us think ours will, too? Just something to ponder.