Being Serious

“If you don’t take yourself more seriously, how will you ever make this work?”

…she says as she glides off into the night. And she’s right, I suppose. If I can’t force myself to write down my thoughts on writing and how it makes me feel, what it means to me, how I hope to be a writer, than how am I supposed to actually accomplish anything?

I visited some writing friends in Bellingham, WA today while I’m on the west coast for business. My Viable Paradise classmates are working hard, writing a lot and trying to make it work. I feel like I’m not working as hard on writing as they are and it makes me waver.

Am I not as committed?

Am I not as good?

Or do I just have different things going on in my life?

I am nearly ten years older than they are, with a different career, (older) kids and a different life back in Washington, D.C. What I’m able to do, what I want to do, is bound more by that than by what is going on in my friends’ lives. Or at least it needs to be.

She glides back into the room and tells me not to be so frustrating.

I am an adequate writer now, but I want to be a very good writer. Even great. I can see how much I’m going to have to work to make that happen, and I’m at the stage where it’s just all rather daunting.

But I can. I know I can. I taught myself not to be shy. I lived across the world from my family for two years. I learned to read a novel in Japanese. I asked a beautiful girl to marry me.

I’ve done difficult things before. I can do them again. It’s just been so long since I’ve wanted anything this much. It’s an unusual feeling. I have to get back on track. Take charge of things once more. Force myself to push past the obvious hurdle and get to the good stuff.

She glides back in once more. “Make sure to tell them that I’m a professional at being right.” And she is.

I WILL make this work.

My immediate goal: Finish first draft of my novel by year’s end. I’m 3/4 of the way there. I just have to get through the ugly, doubting part.

My long term goal: Revise it enough to send out and get an agent. Sell the novel.

My longer term goal: Write the other five books I have floating around in my head.

My dream goal: See my book in Costco or the supermarket. (I know, but still…)

I can do it. I’ve done harder things. I’ve just gotten soft about it. Time to man up.

She smiles and says “I told you so.” Then she takes my hand and takes me with her.

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