Monday, August 29, 2011

Renewed Dreams

I found this fabulous picture on Pinterest, but the original image is here.
 As long as I have loved to read, I have dreamed of being a writer. Once upon a time, Good Housekeeping (which my Mom loved) would publish three stories in each of their magazines. One was very short, one was a bit longer, and the third was the longest. Realistically, in a magazine…they were all short stories, but I dreamed of having one of my stories published there. I would even send in drafts, probably at an age where my chutzpah outweighed my sensibilities. I don’t remember what the stories were about, or if I even managed to type them…I just would send them off, and then receive the not-too-surprising rejection letter. It never occurred to me that I may not be ready to write professionally, or that I should have someone edit or review my work. Oddly, despite receiving rejection letters for my stories, I never really felt rejected. To me, I just needed to send another manuscript in, or find another place to share the writing. The idea of rewriting or critiquing my work, didn’t factor into my plans to be a famous writer.

At one point in time, a teacher suggested that I needed better background information or facts to support my stories. After a family outing, I remember thinking I should write a story set in a ghost town in Utah…before it was a ghost town (yes, we did live in Utah, and yes we did visit a few ghost towns.)  So, I wrote to some historians to get background information and I must have presented myself fairly well because one sent me packets of information and encouraged me to share my book when completed. It was all so adult of me, despite the fact I may have only been about 12 or 13. However, even with the additional information, I never seemed to be able to weave the magical stories that would make me famous, but I also never fully pursued that dream.

In college, my dreams of becoming a famous advertising copywriter on Madison Avenue were dashed by the reality that I was good at copywriting, but not great. After learning that tragic information (at least tragic to my 21 year old self), I seemed to lose any focus on what I wanted to become in this world. I stumbled into a job in retail that led to 12 years of long hours, little pay and lots of shopping. From there (after a brief stint in which I returned to college), I found that I could translate my skills into the human resources field and poured my talents into data analysis, communication projects, training and workforce related matters. Now, almost fifteen years after heading that direction I still wonder why I didn’t actively pursue my desire to be a writer.

Realistically I know that fiction is not my best genre, and non-fiction holds some wonderful opportunities and prospects but I seem to be filled with more ideas than actions, and that is where I sit today. I want to cultivate a regular practice, but don’t seem to have the discipline for it…yet. I have ideas for books, but haven’t taken the time to outline them and turn the ideas into an action plan…yet. I was sitting on the fence, looking down at a job that no longer fulfilled me, but instead frustrated me, and looking ahead to something better that must be on the other side of the fence. Then the universe pushed me off that fence when I was laid off, and like it or not I'm on the other side.  What lies ahead of me is still unseen, but sometimes I just don’t seem to have the tools or the moxie to get there…yet.

2 responses:

Mindful Mama said...

There is nothing like The Artist's Way to force yourself toward writing discipline. A friend who has published several short stories says she makes herself write daily. Not to judge herself or even improve her writing, but to create the space for ideas to come when they can be remembered. I know you will do whatever comes next beautifully and with moxy!

Najla said...

I agree, the Artist's Way is a process for creativity and I've actually been back at doing morning pages for several months now!