When the Dream Is Still a Dream by Julie
TODAY’S BREW: Dunkin Donuts White Peppermint Something or Other
I’m lucky enough to hear often that I inspire people. To hear that makes me stronger, and I’m already pretty strong. But I feel weak often, and that’s okay too.
For all the wonderful people that tell me how much my optimism in times of difficulty is inspirational, know that there are many times I don’t want to go on.
Know that there are many times I get impatient with waiting for an agent to love my book.
Know that there are days I spend more time crying than not crying.
The worst of this is that I truly do not get saddened by rejections from literary agents. I write what I need to write, and I’m not looking for approval. Same goes for my occasional bad review. That stuff is par for the course, and I love the course! The hardest part of being a writer for a living is that it’s not always a living. It’s like any self-employed person goes through, of course. You don’t turn a profit for a while. I’M okay with that. Seeing what it does to my family because we aren’t financially stable is what hurts. Knowing that I can’t throw the big birthday party for my kids partly because I’m working for the greater good, but partly because I’m selfish and afraid NOT to write for a living. The idea of going back to work is absolutely terrifying to me. I’ve only recently seen my nightmares subside about working. So when seeing that my husband works more because I can’t, it hurts. When I don’t run things fantastically well at home all the time, I feel horribly guilty and wonder who I’m helping by being at home with the kids. Not being able to have enough money in the bank to see my husband be able to breathe a sigh of relief is partly my fault, and at one point I will need to remedy it–get a full-time job and stop writing–because I cannot do both and pay proper attention to my family–or make writing work.
When it’s impossible to see what MORE I can possibly do to make my writing career succeed, it hurts to acknowledge that there has to be a time when I say it’s affecting my family the wrong way. That quitting my job to live the dream would have been nice if the dream came true. That I tried. God, I hate TRYING. Do or do not, there is no try. And I don’t want to stop, but it looms overhead that someday I may need to. I hate that with more fire inside me than you can imagine.
The moral of the story is, writers’ lives aren’t easy. Sure, it can be rough to get rejections and bad reviews, but quite honestly I love all of it! I love that stuff because it means I’m making a mark, and that I’m progressing. I’m meeting my quota, getting my initiation. I would be perfectly happy having my cult following forever, never getting a huge book deal if my family didn’t suffer for it. I don’t write to be rich, but I do need to contribute. It’s a sad feeling, but sadder is that contribution has to be monetary no matter how much work you put in that has no price on it.
So writers, and all of you who have a bigger plan out there, I understand. I see the guilt, I feel the heartbreak of not having great news for your loved ones, I see the sacrifices. And yes, keep trying. I’ll not stop until I absolutely must. All parts of my fight won’t be pretty ones. But it’s my fight and until it starts falling to my family’s responsibility, I will be happy to wear my armor.