In high school, I remembered an assignment given to me by my College Success professor during my junior year. On the form, we needed to list three potential universities and three potential majors, both in order of importance.
At that time, I listed my dream major, and two majors that would please my mother and mentor, both of whom were two of my biggest cheerleaders (and burdens).
The list of potential majors I chose looked something like this:
- Creative Writing
As you can tell from the list above, my goal of becoming a writer took priority over all other majors at the time.
But, by the time graduation rolled by I decided not to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. On paper, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but the main reason why I pulled the plug on it?
And it was the kind of fear that produced other useless emotions such as:
I allowed fear to help me choose a safe desk job. And I was hired as an insurance professional fresh out of college.
The job promised dull busywork, but a steady paycheck. And, my mother was pleased I had come to my senses and went the route of a desk job, instead of a silly career involving fiction writing. My mentor was disappointed that I turned down the opportunity to apply to an Ivy League program. But, I decided to cut all ties with her after graduating because I felt like I wasn’t good enough for her.
The next few years, I worked in almost every department at the insurance agency and moved all the way up (or down) to insurance claims handling. Let’s just say my hatred for claims felt like punishment from the Universe for avoiding my calling to be a writer.
Ironically after putting so much of myself into work that I didn’t care about or appreciate, my writing bug never went away, it bit harder.
I wrote often, well into the night, and after the sun came up (usually on the weekends, rarely on work nights). I became obsessed with finding time to write. Even to the point of avoiding parties with friends, spending time with my relatives, and even taking days off work just to write.
I created short stories, novellas, and even an entire novel series. However, I kept all these creations like dirty secrets hiding in my virtual filing cabinet (to this day). I was ashamed of my stories and the urge to be a writer.
The more I wrote, the angrier I became with my desk job. I thought I hid the anger from my co-workers, and for the most part, I did. And, then something inside of me snapped. I needed to publish my work, and quit this insurance gig.
I decided to send in a project to an agent for consideration. It took me 24-hours to get a rejection. The rejection just reinforced the idea that I wasn’t a writer but someone pretending to be a writer.
A few months after the initial rejection, I created a short story, self-edited it in about a month, then self-published it through Amazon. I had about six readers in the span of about two weeks. But, pulled the plug on the project and deleted the novella. It wasn’t my best work, and I wasn’t happy with the number of readers or lack thereof.
It was best that I focused on my humble job as an insurance professional.
Writing wasn’t my calling.
I just need to be like everyone else.
Keep my nose down.
Work hard to move up the corporate step ladder.
And, throw away that silly dream.
My brain and body weren’t having it. Suppressing the urge to write became harder with time. I started and deleted blogs on WordPress. Bought the Jeff Goins, Tribe Writers program and sped through the videos and projects while at work. And, I picked up every book on writing I could find via libraries and online. I even attended literary meet-ups in my community just to be around likeminded individuals.
Today, I struggle with a lack of confidence in my work and a sense of doubt about pursuing a writing career. I know that it takes work and dedication. And, writing is a lonely job. I don’t know what the future holds. But, I know that I need to go ahead and follow this calling.
How exactly do I plan on taking my writing more seriously and pursuing a business that is very personal?
I’m going to just do it.
Start small, of course. Write a blog post a week, even if it isn’t read. And, complete the edit of my current work-in-progress (WIP, going forward).
It’s a science-fiction novel about the difficulties of being in love with someone who isn’t completely human but learning to be comfortable with their alienness (if that’s a word).
This WIP I plan on producing by the end of this year, possibly the beginning of next year. I would love to have grown an audience by then.
I don’t have all the answers. But, I have a destination I’m working towards. The life I currently lead is one that doesn’t mesh with my desires to create. To feel more authentic with myself, I know that writing, and sharing my work will help me onto the path I need to be on.