When the writing journey begins, we’re wide-eyed, hopeful and possibly frothing at the mouth to master the craft of writing, get a publishing contract, make a name for ourselves and maybe even change the world. Oh, yeah, and a Pulitzer would be nice … since we’re dreaming and all.
Then something happens. We actually do it! We get everything we thought we wanted, (except maybe the Pulitzer), but it’s not quite the happily ever after we thought it’d be. It’s work. Drudgery. Deadlines. Lackluster sales. Some great reviews, and some not so great. We get that industry nod we salivated about in our wannabe days in the form of a coveted award. After celebrating with our pretty little trophy in our pretty little dress, we wake up the next morning with all the same problems we had the day before.
I guess writing is a lot like romantic love. There’s a reason fairy tales end with the star-crossed lovers riding off into the sunset. Who wants to see them have their first fight over who’s doing more housework? Or watch them struggle to pay for that dream house? Or try to lose the baby or beer gut?
Logically, we know the honeymoon phase must surrender to the far less sexy companion stage. Passion gives way, most days, to contentedness–if we’re lucky. If we’re not so lucky, we might begin to think we married the wrong person and daydream about what life would be like without the one, in our youth, we thought we couldn’t live without.
We begin to wonder why we wanted to be a novelist so badly. What was it that had given us that tunnel vision that woke us up before the sun had risen and hours before our day job required? What had possessed us to spend money we didn’t have on writers conferences or word processing programs, professional edits, and bazooka how-to books?
But then, like an endearing smile or kind word from our mate, we get something unexpected. We read something like this and we are smitten once again. We are making a difference! We remember the power and beauty of words. We come back to reality and realize that no matter what other gifts, talents or vocational training we have, we are, at our core, writers. And we are still very much in love.
This life we’ve chosen, this marriage, is not always romantic. It’s not always sexy. It’s a sweat pants, unwashed hair in a ponytail, sit at the computer and stare at a blank screen, write a few words, delete them, take a break to look at your sad little bank statement and decide you can only afford meatloaf for dinner instead of the salmon you’re craving, read a reviewer slam what you are sure you nailed in your latest novel kind of life.
It’s the kind of life other newer writers dream of. They might not know the ups and downs that await them, and that’s a good thing. The world needs dreamers. It needs writers. It needs you.
He made himself an island until something unexpected washed ashore.