It dawned on me this evening after dinner that I’ve only had 20 hours of sleep since Sunday night. I can’t blame it on insomnia or anxiety or even menopause because I do get sleepy and when I finally go to bed, I’m asleep within minutes…most nights. Then, I read this quote:
“Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.”
I am extremely hard on myself and always have been. When I set my heart and soul on a goal, I go after it like a Tasmanian Devil and don’t relent until I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Let me tell you something; it’s an exhausting lifestyle. It’s no walk in park being a writer who feels like they’ll shrivel and die if they stop writing or an artist who believes the’ll lose their gift if they don’t use it and fear being completely miserable if they aren’t creating and growing. It’s impossible to describe what it feels like to be so immersed in your passion that you believe with every cell in your body if you let one day go by without feeding that addiction, you’ll lose precious time, precious ideas and even more so, precious ground.
That is how I feel about what I do. I am a writing addict. If I’m not writing in what little free time I have, I’m editing. If I’m not editing, I’m reading over what I’ve written repeatedly to push and pull it to where I can move to the next paragraph, sentence and word. Right now I feel like I could close my eyes and fall into a deep sleep but I won’t! I can’t allow myself to walk away from this screen until everything I’m thinking and feeling is out of my head. I push, push, push and regardless of what anyone says to me, I refuse to stop until I’m damn good and ready.
Tonight, I came to the conclusion that the reason my passion grows instead of withers, regardless of what small success I’ve achieved is because I started so late. When you arrive late to a party, you want to make the best of it so you grab a plate, pour a drink and get mingling before you miss all the fun. Forget the fact that you’re shoes are on the wrong feet, just get in there. My biggest fear is that I’ll run out of time before I finally reach the level of success that I feel I am capable of and I admitted to myself that at my age, I don’t have a year or two to spend writing one book. I don’t have eight to ten hours a day and all the free time I could ask for to spend at my computer doing what I love. I work a full time job, watch my granddaughter three nights a week and try to spend time with my twin infant granddaughters as much as I can. I have a home that needs cleaning, laundry that needs doing, a husband who wants my attention and a son who still lives home who I hardly see because he works so much.
This is not a hobby. This is what I choose to do for the rest of my life; however long that is. It’s IMPORTANT to ME.
However, I don’t want to burn myself out and miss the party completely. I know how hard I work at this and the countless hours I dedicate myself to telling my stories. I see other writers and authors who’ve invested years in this and go to conferences and classes and are members of writing groups. I read as much as I can on how to do this and that to be a better writer and I soak it all up and squeeze out what I don’t need or either cannot find time for. I definitely cannot make time for those things right now and I don’t know if I ever can. That frightens me because I’m afraid these things are rungs on the ladder and if I try to skip them, I’ll fall and break my neck.
I’ve been on the fast track for two years now and I finally realize that I have to slow down. I can’t keep up this pace or my fear of burning myself out will become a reality. My goal has been to be a full time writer. My goal is also to be best selling author. My goal is also to be an award winning author. I don’t want to take short cuts and escalators to get there but I have to get off of this treadmill and be realistic about my own limits as a human being. My most recent novel was written in three months and that includes research. I think it’s awesome already (of course) and I’ve only just begun the revisions. Ninety seven thousand words plus of storytelling. I’m sorry I don’t care who you are, that’s an impressive feat in three months when you only have a few hours a day, a few days a week to write…but I want this so bad I can taste the ink.
Starting tonight, I’ll be in bed before midnight. Starting tonight, I will slow down to a jog. Starting tonight, I’m going to set realistic goals and stop beating myself up if I can’t edit more than one chapter a night. The hardest part is, like any addiction, I worry that just cutting back won’t be enough. Moderation doesn’t work in situations like mine but I have no choice, I have to make it work.
Wish me luck. Better yet, wish me stellar book sales so I can reach my goal. 🙂 As always, thank you for reading.