Ya know… Life is funny. You never know where it will lead you or why.
I totally believed in signs from the Universe. I believed it spoke to me through small things that happened in my life. It gave me opportunities and took them away. It gave me hope and even took THAT away. Which makes me now say, “Fuck you, Universe.”
Now I’m a believer of Life is just Life. And shit happens. And there ain’t shit you can do about it when shit happens. For the second summer in a row, I lost my job due to a reduction in workforce. That same day I sold Only For A Knight. At first I was all, “This is a sign!” I thought I would try writing full-time while I was unemployed. I talked it over with the husband and he agreed to give me the time to give it a try. But the funny thing about that is…it never really felt right. Don’t get me wrong–writing full-time has been a long-time dream. I want to do it really bad but I wanted to do it with a clear conscious. When I wouldn’t have to worry so much about the bills. My plan/goal included paying off all my debt and stockpiling 3-6 months of living expenses. That plan was cut short when I got laid off in June.
It’s hard to explain this and it’s not something I will readily admit to anyone. In fact, it’s kinda painful to write it all out now in black and white. But here it is: I’m not ready for writing full-time. (That makes me want to cry.) Deep in my soul, I think I know that and I think that’s why I’ve been feeling so frustrated. So downright pissy about writing. It could be that I’m trying to rewrite a book to fit certain guidelines. It could also be that the stories I like to tell and want to tell don’t fit certain guidelines. Or maybe I’m just not cut out to be a full-time writer. I don’t know. I haven’t figured out the answer yet. All I know is deep down this full-time thing isn’t working for me.Yet.
I’m sure it’s because I haven’t hit my stride. I haven’t “matured” enough yet as a writer. But all the hitting stride and maturing ain’t gonna happen in less than six months. It’s just not possible. I honestly think that those writers who get laid off from their day jobs and can write full-time–and be successful!–are writers who are already insanely talented, super lucky and highly prolific.
So all this time I’ve been out of work and struggling, it’s given me a lot of time for reflection. I wonder if I could have done things differently. If I should have started out as an ebook author, as I did, or if I should have waited and done the contest circuit like I see so many writers doing–and garnering success. They final in prestigious contests, they get requests for fulls and they get contracts with editors and/or agents. I hear these success stories and I look at myself and I wonder if I’ve screwed myself and my career by the choices I’ve made.
The problem with this business, in my opinion, is there is no one who can tell you what’s right and what’s…not so right. I won’t say wrong since that sounds so negative. I mean, it’s not like you can go to your high school counselor and tell them you want to be a bestselling novelist for a living. They might ask you if you’ve been smoking crack. And we all know how we snicker at those amateurs who think they’ll just sit down and write a book, get a big contract, and make millions. God, if it was only that easy! We’d all be millionaire writers, wouldn’t we?
I guess the point I’m trying to make is this: No one can tell you how to get there. Not really. I believe this business is about faith. Faith in yourself and your career and your writing. I also believe that this business is one of soul and passion and fun. You have to have the soul for it and the passion for it or you will never succeed. And even though it’s a “job” instead of “that other thing you do” (hobby is a bad word), it still has to be fun. In the recent RWR (Romance Writers Report for members of RWA), there was a great article called “Protecting The Girl.” It really resonated with me. It made me feel I wasn’t alone. Writing isn’t about the money or the bestselling status. It’s about the love of the fucking writing. The fun. It’s about loving what you do every day. I think some writers bleed words and that is the difference from the average writer and the great writer.
I don’t want to be average. I want to be great. But I’m not there yet. I need it to be the right time for me. Even if I’m sixty when it finally happens (God, I hope not!). I know it will happen for me. Just not yet. I’m the type of person that lives with the worry of Life in the back of her mind. And as long as I have that worry, I will never be great. Hell, I’m subpar at best. I’m not lucky. I’m not insanely talented and I’m certainly not highly prolific. I wish I could be all those things. I strive to be all those things. But as I said, deep down in my soul I feel as though I’m not ready. It’s not the right time. And no matter how much I try to force the issue, it won’t change the way things are.
I’m ignoring the damn Universe and all those signs from now on. I had a plan of action. I’m going to get back to it and stick with it if it kills me. And it just might.
Que sera sera.