Looking Back: What I Planned vs. Where I Actually Am
In less than a week it will be 3 years since I quit my accounting job to be a writer. Though I’ve earned a bit of money, it hasn’t been nearly enough to stop my financial resources from bleeding out at a frightening rate. And most of the earnings have been made by doing what I left; accounting work.
So what went wrong?
For starters, I’ve let fear coupled with laziness and overlaid with procrastination halt my progress. Though I’ve started several projects,, both in writing and self-improvement, my follow-through is lacking. I have 3 unfinished novels, the self-help/memoir I began in 2009 awaiting completion and the children’s book I started 25 years ago, also begging for attention. I’ve published one short story on a blog hop. And that’s it. That’s all I have to show for 3 years of supposed writing efforts. The trouble is, too much of that 3 years has been spent doing anything but writing or pitching or preparing to publish.
Facing Some Difficult Choices
So where do I go from here? I realized this morning that I have but a few months left before I either have to start selling my stock, or get a real job again, which will be challenging simply because I’ve aged another 3 years and am, for the most part, an undesirable new employee in an environment full of new graduates and fresh ideas.
I’m forced to take a good, hard look at myself, my motivation, and the likelihood I’ll actually achieve those lofty goals I set when I was 10.
Can I achieve those goals? I’d have to say yes.
Do I have what it takes to actually go after them so I can achieve them? On this one, I’m uncertain.
Am I willing to give them up right now? This one gets a definite no. I am not ready to give up, but I’m going to have to commit to acting like a writer each and every day. I have to commit to writing that outline, to perfecting that pitch, to throwing my work under the bus wheels of my critique group, and really listen to what they have to say. Most of all, I have to accept the fact that there will be rejections, and thicken my skin some more.
Keeping it all in Perspective
Nothing I hear or see is personal. I know that on a conscious level, but will future rejections, or worse, being ignored, shake or even shatter my resolve?
Only if I allow it, I know that. But what makes me believe I’m strong enough to keep from being overcome? What makes me think I’m strong enough, when an entire nation was just overrun by greed, bigotry, corruption, and hate?
Do I even still believe I deserve to succeed?
I’ve been telling myself for awhile that there’s enough to go around; enough for everyone. And yet, publishers reject at least 99 out of 100 manuscripts. They probably don’t even read thousands more. I’m having huge doubts about being able to stand out from the crowd these days. I’m allowing myself to give up before I’ve even tried because I’m feeling average; ordinary; unremarkable.
Time to Sink or Swim, Fish or Cut Bait
3 years is a long time to tread water, and at the rate I’m going, it won’t be long before I start to sink. Yet, I know I’m the only one who can truly prevent that, either by becoming a stronger swimmer or by building a boat.
Boards are my words, the tools, my imagination and persistence. Both have been at a low ebb lately. In fact, for the entire month of November, I wrote very little. For the first time, I started NaNo and failed to follow through after the first couple of days, the first couple of thousand words.
Friends: My Lighthouse in the Storm
In my moment of deep despair, a friend sent me a Facebook message which couldn’t have come at a better time. It only proves something I often forget. Love and inspiration will always be there for me when I need it most. I simply have to open my heart and my mind and accept the gifts.
I see that encouragement like this which always comes at the right time is what has kept me going for the last 3 years. If I give up, not only do I let myself down, but also so many who have offered love, support, and encouragement while I’ve struggled to find my path. Maybe, just maybe, I’ve changed directions once too often already, but I still have time to get myself back on track. I still have time and resources to keep from failing myself.
Starting Over: A Little Wiser and a Whole Lot Humbler
So today, I start outlining Forgotten Victims so I’ll have an outline ready when I narrow down my prospective publishers. Today, I start to organize the years of random thoughts and feelings, the advice I give others who’ve lost a family member to suicide.
Today is my new beginning.
Above All, Remembering to be Grateful
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for friends who know just when to encourage and just when to kick my butt.
- I am grateful for my writing which never fails to help me sort things out.
- I am grateful for the last 3 years. I’ve found myself, lost myself and found myself again, but have learned that I still have a lot to discover.
- I am grateful for the opportunity to share my struggles and help others with theirs.
- I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, self-sufficiency, opportunity, hope, dreams, faith, peace, harmony, philanthropy, success, and prosperity.
I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!
Photo credit: Dawn Huczek via Flickr