Hi, God, it’s me.
(Oh, by the way: I know that I address these thoughts of mine to many different things-
The Universe, Life, To Whom It May Concern-but you know I’m always talking to you, right?)
OK, that’s good, because I’ve got something huge that’s weighing on my mind today and I need your help.
You know that in 27 days I turn 40, and for the most part, I am thrilled.
But there’s one thing I’m kind of worried about-one thing I’m afraid might never happen. And it’s something I really, REALLY want. Like, since childhood. Since the first moment I was conscious of having desires, actually.
I want to write and publish a book. Or maybe books. And I’m so afraid that this might never happen for me.
I know I’m only 40 (well, 39 and 339 days, if we’re being precise), and that I still have lots of life ahead of me. And that some people don’t start getting published until they’re well into their 50s or 60s, and that these days there are a lot of different ways that people can publish or be published, and that I didn’t really have much worth reading or writing about until the past few years, and yada, yada, yada.
But I still worry. A LOT.
And I wish this weren’t the case, but every time I hear about someone else publishing their book, especially if it’s someone I know, I get so jealous. It might only be for a minute or two, but holy cow-in that couple of moments, that jealously feels like it’s consuming every single piece of me.
I do not want to feel this way. And this is the way I feel.
This is not the place I want to be, this wondering-if-this-dream-will-ever-come-true, having-trouble-even-writing-anything place. And, this is the place I’m at.
Sometimes it hurts to want this so much that I try and force this dream to please, PLEASE, JUST GO AWAY. Or I try to trick myself into believing that, no, now that I think about it, I don’t actually want this.
The problem is that I can’t not know what I know. And what I know is that This. Is. What. I. Really. Want. Apparently this dream is sticking around, no matter what I do.
But wanting something can sometimes be so hard, especially when my mind tries to convince me that I’m running out of time. (Because, as we all know, turning 40 means you’re practically at death’s door.)
It’s not as if nothing has been happening with me and my writing; as a matter of fact, I have experienced HUGE movement over this past year. There has been a writing mentor, a writing community, and writing classes.
But there has also been an extended fallow period, with little to no writing. Although my crazy-ass monkey mind has kept itself busy spinning lots of tales, interpreting this quiet time as, “You’ll never write anything ever again,” and, “Oh, so you managed to eke out a few paltry sentences on your blog- big fat whoop-de-doo,”, and, “Everyone else is going to use up all the possible ideas that can ever be written about while you’re stuck here doing nothing, and even if you do start writing again, a blog post here and there is impossibly far away from ever writing an actual, full-length book. You’ll never be able to do that. And even if you do, it will be too late.”
Those kind of stories I could do without.
However, there have been lots of other dreams that have been coming true this year (about which, more later.) Dreams that seemed like they were in a universe so unbelievably far away that they were things I could never, ever have in this lifetime. And now they’re here.
Hm. I should probably stop and read that again. “I thought I could never have those things. And now they are here.”
Wow-looks like You’ve already started answering me on this, and I haven’t even finished writing it; at least, I have the piece I need for today. I’m excited to see where we go from here.
Thanks. I’m glad we had this little talk.
I know exactly what you mean, because I’ve always had the same dream. I spent last weekend at a writing festival with hundreds of other people who have that dream. And for many of us, the agony of it, even without having fibromyalgia, of having written a book and then being blocked out of their dream by the word of a gatekeeper, is physical torture.
95% of it is in your head. I’ve spent all summer with a monkey mind chattering away to the point where I couldn’t write either. Actually, it doesn’t matter if you have fallow times. You don’t have to write every day. You are doing enough. One of the biggest lessons in life is learning to be patient with yourself and your mind.
I did find it beneficial to meet people who had that same dream and were in agony over it. We greet the news of every success with the taint of extraordinary jealousy. You have to ask yourself: “What is it that writing a book and being published will mean to you?”
I wasn’t ready to hear that when somebody said it to me a year, eighteen months ago. I was so preoccupied with the all-encompassing importance of Being Published it never occurred to me to ask WHY that mattered. Some people may take me to task and give me a ticking off for writing about it here. But it’s important to ask.
I came back from the festival feeling much more relaxed because I could answer that question, and I understood it was something of an empty quest. Deep down, I wanted some kind of validation for myself, for my writing. I think that’s what a lot of people want. It’s why it’s horrible to hear that you’re probably not going to make a living from it. And I can remember that I thought the same thing about having a degree, and a PhD. I didn’t feel validated by them. I’d probably get up the day after I was given a publishing deal and think, “Ah, so nothing changed.” I have to be ready for it, and understanding I wasn’t, and still had my own illness (the anxiety disorder) to work through.
Sorry, I’m rambling here. Nothing will halt the agony of wanting it so much and feeling so blocked. If there’s any way I can help, let me know. xx
Cranky Fibro Girl says
Thank you so much for all of this-it’s so nice to know that I’m not alone in this 🙂