Saturday, March 15, 2014

Growth as a Writer

It's been hard to blog lately, and I am clearly aware of why. Without going into too many details, suffice it to say that my life has not been moving in a direction I had hoped it would. I'm taking steps to reroute, but it's difficult to put myself out on the web, knowing that I can't be completely forthright.

I've seen it said before, by other well-known and successful writers, that you have to put aside others' hopes for you, their opinions of you, in order to write. For some people, the expectations of who you were supposed to be were already lowered. J.K. Rowling and Nora Roberts were both single mothers without lucrative careers when they first started writing seriously. Rowling scraped the edge of poverty, relying on family to get by. She doesn't speak of it, but I can't imagine they were pleased at what she'd done with her life at the time.

Others, like Barbara Hambly, write in their journals of how they tried other careers. Hambly was student teaching in a high school when she created her first novel, "Time of the Dark." Casually, she speaks of losing any chance of getting a teaching job when Proposition 13 went through. Almost as an afterthought, she details having spent 30 months working for her father's company while she continued writing, a dead-end job that she knew was going nowhere.

30 months.

In other words, two and a half years.

Some people can move forward while pursuing other interests. Many writers have, and do, continue in second careers even as their writing becomes lucrative. Hambly is a well-known writer - she's won and been nominated for several Locus awards. Even as she writes, she also teaches college classes, and she enjoys doing so.

But there's a point where you have to step back, and look at your life, and ask "Where is this leading me?" And if your answer is "Not to anything that I want," then you have to reevaluate.

I reached that point several months ago. To be honest, I probably knew I was going the wrong direction over a year ago. But fear can be a powerful motivator to avoid change. After all, if Option A didn't work, who's to say that Option B will do any better? Nevertheless, you have to try.

Moving forward from here, I have started to look hard at what I want from my life. I have a wonderful husband, cat, and home. I will have to work hard to keep them. But I have to make certain that I'm not putting home before happiness. I love my new house and will fight to keep it. But I will also fight to be able to do so in a manner that makes me happy, and fulfills me.

I want to work hard. I want what I do to make a difference. And I want to do work that I am passionate about, that I can be proud of having done. It's time to change directions, so I can once again look forward to telling the world about all the exciting things I plan to do.