I’ve found it somewhat easier to work on two things at once.
Whether it’s two books or a blog post and a book.
Either way, to those watching it means I look like I’m working and not just staring at nothing.
It also helps that when creativity fails on one, it usually converts to the other.
So in one way or another, I’m still making progress, or at least I feel somewhat productive by the end of the day.
Which is important, simply because it is the hardest feeling for me to attain. It’s hard simply because there still isn’t a finished product or any version of self-validation for me to fall back on…yet.
Right now it’s all still a pipe dream, riding on a lot of tentative hope, and always, that gnawing doubt at the back of my mind.
You see, every sentence I write is generally followed by why?
Why did I say / write that? Where the hell are these words coming from and where are they taking me?
Its akin to wishing upon a star, aiming for it, then strapping a rocket to your ass, lighting the fuse, and hoping for the best.
Results can be mixed…
Which is why I tend to feel awkward and somewhat dismissive when people tell me they’re amazed by me, or proud of me, or jealous…
I usually grunt and look at them like they’re mad. Then I worry that maybe I’m mad.
Why? Jealous that I quit my job? Or Jealous that I took a risk to do something I enjoyed?
If it’s the job, well. I don’t know many who enjoy what they do.
Maybe two, three people in my entire extended network. The rest hate it, and the others are depressed, or soon to be.
The only ones who seem happier are those that quit and changed direction long before I did.
But if it’s not quitting, and it’s about the risk…
Then why are they jealous that I took such a huge risk to pursue something as unlikely and uncertain as writing?
You see, the odds of making a living as an author are close to laughable. So I tend be somewhat confused by the notion of jealousy and I don’t particularly feel like I’ve done anything amazing.
I feel this way mostly because I still have to prove it to myself. I’m my biggest critic and still need to prove that I made the right choice, (as Drake said, I finally realised that turning papers in won’t get me paid).
But getting paid this way will take time. More than I would like to admit.
So it’s stressful.
Don’t get me wrong; I believe I have it in me. I’m committed, whole-heartedly; otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this at all, but still. A large amount of luck is going to be needed, shitloads more that I’ve already had to bring me this far.
So I don’t think I’ll truly relax, or begin to process it until I get my first acceptance, or rejection letter from a publisher.
Right now I’m still working up to that, and trying to work out how to pay the bills in the meantime.
So I still have a very long and uncertain way to go.
But, I get told often that it’s amazing what I’ve done.
Especially from people who still work in the type of environment I left. Trapped in their cubicle, breathing the same recycled air as a hundred other people, slaved to their desk, watching the clock tick by, minutes, hours, years.
They tell me they’re happy for me, happy that I followed a passion.
They want to know how it’s going. They offer to help, to read, to critique.
People I never expected to care or even notice in the first place.
Which is flattering, and somewhat surprising, but that at least I do understand, that smile you get when someone you know does something they’ve always wanted to do, something that makes them smile too.
I know how hard it is to give a crazy idea life. To overcome the doubt, or the fear holding you back, and strangely, I think we’re too scared to try something we dream of doing in case we’re awful at it and fail.
The question that follows such an awful realisation is: Now what?
Back to where you started with your tail between your legs?
Hence the thought of doing something we actually enjoy, instead of doing something we hate because someone pays us, is, in today’s world, strangely considered a type of madness.
You have to be a little mad to risk it, but madder still to let it pass your by.
I spent so long myself with those same thoughts that I can empathise.
I get it. Doing this had always seemed impossible to me, and to be honest, it still does some times, but those times are getting less.
When I first started having these thoughts: occasions of temporary insanity I called them (daydreams in most people’s vernacular), I simply dismissed them. Blind to the fact that sitting still, doing the same thing over and over, never getting anywhere but always expecting a different result was in itself, the definition of insanity.
So when I get told now that people are amazed that I did what I did.
I get it. Sometimes I’m amazed too.
But in reality I finally acknowledged that there was only one way to find out if there was more to life than being a glorified monkey: Pushing the same button everyday. I knew that if I didn’t do something different soon, I’d either end up playing with my own poo, or throwing it.
So it was either I get out while I still could, try this, find out once and for all, or turn into a bitter old bastard.
In the end, I guess it comes down to one simple fact.
I would rather bet on myself than bet on somebody else to bring me the life that I want.