Reason #483 for writing this blog: I don’t trust myself very often. I am constantly questioning if I really know what I want, if I really understand myself. It’s quite maddening to be in a constant battle with your brain.
That came into sharp focus today. I had dedicating my Thursday to writing and, being as I’m waiting for friends to finish reading my book, I decided to focus on some business stuff. One thing related to writing that causes me unbelievable amounts of stress is not making any money while I pursue it. And so, I was searching out where all those gremlins store their riches for me to loot.
I stumbled upon a funny website a few weeks ago and thought, “Hmm. Maybe?” I finally got around to checking it out in more detail today and turns out that they are constantly accepting submissions to post and it’s pretty popular so it would be a good idea professional. Before I could change my mind I signed up for an online account and set to poking around the different parts of their site, reading past articles and forums. I started to get a sinking feeling that I couldn’t place. Suddenly I didn’t want my picture up or my email visible. I didn’t want there to be any identifying factors that could lead someone back to me.
Now this website is legit. They have been around for years and are well respected. So I had no logical reason to be freaked, but for some reason I was.
After a long walk that involved much musing, I put my finger on it: I don’t want to write for them. For any zines in fact. Well, not on any sort of regular basis at least. When I began to think back I realized that I had been attempting to figure out what I could write for this site. I was feeling pretty lame because nothing was coming to mind. Meanwhile my stomach was screaming at me, “Don’t do it! Step away from the laptop. I don’t want to hurt you but I will.” As usual, I ignored the incredibly intelligent and all-knowing acid that floats around my belly button.
Immediately following my enlightenment, I changed my profile so that only a team of evil aliens with the knowledge of all the pass codes on the planet could trace me. Then I outlined what it is that I truly want.
And that’s to be a novelist. I think part of the reason I love the Beatles like I do is because of Paperback Writer. That song gets me in my gut every time. I’ve read online (funny enough) that the paper book form is dead and if you want to stay current then you need to get online. They say the same about theatre. And then you see something crazy, like people actually cooking bacon onstage (I swear to you I saw that in a show. Someone near me called it “Smell Design”) and you realize that the stage will never be black. I believe the same for books. There is nothing that can beat the crack of the spine of a new book as you get to the middle and want to keep reading while also holding the train rail. Or the smell of a used book store, the slightly moldy but also comforting smell of 10 copies of Romeo and Juliet with notes from random high school sophomores in the margins. I don’t think books are going anywhere.
When I considered it that way it illuminated something more real for me: wasted time. By putting my focus into an area that I don’t want to be in but feel I should, I’m taking time and energy away from my real desires.
It’s a pretty radical idea for me to change my mind so swiftly. I like to muse (my husband is probably shaking his head reading this) and consider all the tiny, sometimes insignificant details until I’ve arrived at the most sound and rational answer. So I guess the real risk wasn’t changing my mind; it was being content with what I want.