Today, an author I’m friends with wrote a post about giving up. “It turns out the world does not need my novels,” she wrote. “I have spent thousands and thousands of hours writing and reading about writing, and for what?”
I hate that she wrote this. And I get why she wrote this. And I totally understand why she is ready to call it quits on writing.
I have these arguments with myself almost every day.
In fact, I was just talking myself down today as I drove home from work . It had been an especially hectic day at my day job, and I’d left my desk knowing that if I lingered for even a minute more, thirty more minutes of work would land in my lap. So I raced out of there. And the whole drive home, I questioned what I was doing. Why was I working so damn hard at a job that sometimes feels suffocating, and it’s not what I want to be doing? Why hasn’t my dream of being a full-time author been realized when I’ve worked so damn hard at this for the past 5 years of publishing, and 3 decades of writing? How long can I sustain writing novels, working full time, going to school, taking care of my family, and every other part of my life, all at the same time?
What if….what if I wasn’t meant to be an author?
I’m always stunned into silence when this thought crosses my mind.
I love words. I love the shape of them, the taste of them, and the feel of them. I love the way they look on a page, how they smell in a book, and how they sound in other people’s mouths. I want to spend the rest of my life playing with words, and my dream is that this will always involve storytelling: playing with words, creating words, writing words, and then using them to create books that people love to read.
But what if the people never come?
Today I saw another frustrated post from a different author who had written 20 novels, and she still hadn’t seen any kind of success. Her books don’t suck, either! Meanwhile, I’m sitting over here with 8 books, believing my time should have come. Apparently there’s no number to these things.
It is really, really hard when you want something so bad, and it just isn’t coming to you. In The Alchemist (my favorite book), Paulo Coelho writes, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
But why does the universe have to take so damn long???
Coelho also writes, “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
And this, my friends, is the meaning of life.
We all have dreams we wish to fulfill. And when that dream is realized, a new one must be sought after. After all, life would lose meaning if you had nothing to work toward.
Do I want to be chasing success this hard all my life as an author? Absolutely not. But I never want it to get old. It’s always going to be hard, and I’m always going to be striving to make it happen, as this is what I know I’m supposed to be doing.
Now, that’s not to say that my dream won’t one day change or evolve, or that my friend is wrong for “giving up.” Sometimes things just aren’t in the cards, as much as that hurts to write. However, no dream is a wasted dream. I truly believe this. An unrealized dream may just be the bridge you need to set you on the path toward the dream that’s meant to be.
Or, sometimes we just need to give ourselves a break so we can rediscover what we loved about our original dream in the first place.
SHAMELESS PLUG: My book, The Road to Hope, is still FREE! But only until Sunday. Don’t miss this chance to read the first book in my 3-book Hope series for free!