Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Life Of It's Own

I followed the suggestion of Laura Day this morning to write a reality tale of how what I want came into being.  I wrote a story about how my desire to be a published novelist manifested. It was a good exercise that I recommend to anyone who is creating something new in their life. It put me in that place of having it already.

But it also got me to thinking how we sometimes write these stories in our head of how things are supposed to unravel and hold too tightly to what we think it should look like.

I have dreamed of one day writing full time for most of my life. My fear of not being good enough or not having anything interesting enough to say was pretty much what stopped me from  devoting  time to the practice.

I did not get serious about my writing until eight years ago. And even then it was still more a dream as in pipe dream than a dream as in I want to make this happen.

But now I had this character I created and this story that had become a novel. I knew it was good. I started to get serious. I got an agent. I had a plan. When the book was sold I would leave that day job. OK, so it was more than leaving a day job. It would be leaving a twenty five year career. In any event the story I was writing of how this would transpire did not include being asked to leave that job before the book was sold. But that is the way things unraveled.

So I had part of my dream fulfilled. I was writing full time. And I had a severance package, so I rewrote that to look like my first book advance.

Then the economy tanked. I hadn't written that into the story of my publication either. The market for new fiction writers was challenging to say the least. So while my agent navigated those waters I wrote a second novel. I liked this even better than my first one.

I didn't plan that two plus years after leaving my corporate job I would still be in search of a book contract.
I didn't plan I would be putting aside the first novel and pushing the second.
I didn't plan that I would seriously begin to consider the idea of self publishing. Thank you Seth Godin.

If I was still holding on to how I thought things should occur, I would probably be seeking psychiatric care. That or giving up.

But giving up is not an option. The publication will occur. However the road I am traveling to get there  is just like any story I write. I think it is going to look one way and once my fingers hit the keys it takes on a life of its own. If I don't let my fingers fly, if I try to censor myself or force things in one direction, I have an unreadable story. So I let go of what I think the sequence of events will be, I stay open to what shows up and I trust in a good story.
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