We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Wigglesworth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
This is always a tough question to answer, and it often depends on your own measure of success. In many kinds of businesses there’s a saying, even, that if you’re going to fail, then you’ll want to “fail fast”. This minimizes your losses, and gives you more time to choose a different, and potentially more lucrative, path. But what makes this difficult in practice, especially for those with long sought after aspirations, is that it often is necessary to be patient to succeed. That is why the question of when, or if, to give up is less about how long it’s taken to make what little success, if any, you’ve achieved, and more about figuring your motivations in the first place. Otherwise, you either mark a day in the calendar to stop or declare your resolve to seek success “no matter how long it takes.” An easier determiner is by considering the matter of joy. If you know you’re going to fail and can’t find joy in what you do other than by attaining that set measure of success, then you may need to consider your options (and failing fast might be your greatest friend). However, if you know you’re going to fail, but you find joy in the act of doing whatever that activity is, then by all means keep going. Similarly, if you can’t come to terms with not pursuing your business or your dream project, or in other words without it “life lacks flavor,” then keep going. It isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, though, even when doing what you love. That’s why, if, even in those most difficult moments, where all your instincts are trying to pull you out, you still can’t consider leaving it all, then you just might be onto something. I see that I’ve entirely enjoyed the act of writing in my life. I love great mysteries and thrillers, and I love the weird ways that human nature manifests in the most unlikely scenarios. All this I’m excited to emulate everyday in my writing. I know this without knowing the joy of attaining my own measure of success. And I don’t wish for the day that I’ve become successful enough to put down the pen. That will be a dry and bitter day. So, if I am asked how I know whether to keep going or to give up, my answer is rather, if I am to fail, then surely I would rather that I fail slowly.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
About a year ago, I formally began my journey with Rainwater Publishing, a sole proprietorship of my creation, as my outlet for authoring and publishing stories. It’s been a dream of mine for some time, and perhaps something I’ve been piecing together for longer than even I know. I recently found a little notebook from when I was seven or eight that I “wrote a novel” in about a jackalope. It was only a few pages naturally. As I laugh it only reassures me that I’ve always had a passion for writing and storytelling. Now, with the encouragement of friends a few college professors, I’m ready to make the leap!
There are many works in the pipeline including a few standalone short stories, a series, a collection, as well as my first novel with many plans beyond that. I’ve worked with some incredibly talented people, and I’m very excited to be coming out with all kinds of content soon. I’m most enthusiastic to publish a series of short stories that I’ve been working on for the latter half of a year now, the first installment of which I’m expecting to publish this summer. Not to spoil too much, but it’s centered around the mystique of the desert in a changing world and a young woman traversing through it. There’ll be more information on my website soon!
One of my major goals with Rainwater Publishing is for my stories to be accessible. The traditional way to get books is to get in your car and drive down to your local bookstore, something which nowadays is only becoming farther and farther away. Whether you like to read a physical book in your favorite chair, listen in with headphones, or even enjoy watching a video while scrolling through your phone, I want to create stories for all types of preferences.
It’s certainly not easy. Many aspects of the publishing industry have been in decline for decades now. Stories, however, have not declined and only are beginning to emerge in new ways. How we tell stories and where is the new question that many writers and authors are trying to answer. Especially in recent years, there’s been a burst in creative expression and many in the realm of storytelling. Publishing in the current environment won’t be without its difficulties, but that absolutely doesn’t mean it’s not still exciting!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There’s an abundance of natural beauty in Phoenix, and if I were to bring a friend to the area we’d surely take advantage of it, but there’s also great food, art, and shops as well. If I had a few days or a week to show someone around, I would take them to any of the beautiful landmarks and surrounding areas for hiking and walking, like taking a dip in the rivers at Slide Rock State Park, or hiking up Piestewa Peak, or even going to the Desert Botanical Gardens during the day. If it was too hot to explore the environment, I’d take them to see some of the culture, such as the Heard Museum to witness the Native Art, or to Tlaquepaque for local crafts. When the sun goes down, I’d recommend any of the traditional food places around, but my favorites have been some of the Mexican-inspired restaurants, like Otro Cafe or Arizona Taco King, or if I’m feeling fancy I’d go to Roku Oker for the best steak and seafood around.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would not have had the opportunity to write in the manner that I do without the support and guidance of my parents. They’ve helped me every step of the way. If it wasn’t for their constant encouragement and eager involvement in my passion, I would not have the determination that I do to keep going. I also need to credit my many mentors throughout high school and college, who have tutored me and pushed me to do more with my stories. Each individual has assisted me in honing different skills that I’ve used to help develop my voice and find my genre. I’ve also had the amazing opportunity to work under the supervision of Julia Glass, author of Three Junes, early on in my career, which has helped me immensely not only with the writing process but how to think. It wouldn’t be without these people in my life that I would have found such joy in novels and stories, and I thank each and every one of them for what they’ve given me.