I have wanted to be an author, a writer, a storyteller – for as long as I knew what those things were. I can recall sitting in the back of the classroom at the Catholic grammar school I attended, one of the few non-Catholics in the room. Sister Mary Margaret was instructing the class on the do’s and don’ts of accepting the body of Christ, and since I would never be required to line up at Church with the other kids and eat the wafer, during religion class begin to daydream. I would create little scenes in my head – scenes full of dark, moldy dungeons and luminous princesses and handsome young knights who would climb in through windows to fight off dragons, ultimately sweeping the grateful princess (who would, ironically, always look like me) off her feet.
In my early teens, I filled notebook after notebook with stories of romance and betrayal and heartbreak. Teen angst at its best. Most of the stories, funny enough, focused on the heroine (me!) and some astoundingly famous, talented, handsome man – a real-life rock star, professional athlete, actor or whatever current celebrity had caught my eye at the time of writing. I was drafting fanfic before fanfic was a thing, I guess.
When I was in my late teens and early 20’s, I tried my hand at writing poetry. Bad, sappy, nonsensical poetry. But my gift of storytelling never left me. While I was busy raising kids and taking care of a house and a family, I put away my writing for many years, but still managed to create entertaining stories for my little ones each night before the went to sleep. Sometimes one of “Mommy’s quick bedtime stories” lasted an hour or more, simply because Mommy was having way too much fun conceiving it on the fly. I think I enjoyed it more than my kids did.
No matter which phase of my life I was in, the dream was always to write a book of my very own, to create a story so thought-provoking and detailed, with complex characters with relationships and issues that the reader could identify with. I wanted to create characters a reader would fall in love with. After my divorce, I set out to finally do just that. It was my time, I told myself. A door had opened for me. This was my opportunity to begin the journey of achieving my #1 goal of becoming a published author.
I have been divorced for 16 years now. In that time, I was a paid blogger for 6 months. I interned at my local newspaper and had three articles published, one of which (a “riveting” piece about the yearly Memorial Day parade in a neighboring town) made the front page. In my defense, it is extremely difficult to be a single mom (with no support from her ex) of two active boys when you work a full-time job and try to write in your “off hours”. Because basically, there are no “off hours” when you are a single mom.
Now, however, my kids are much older. I still work full time at a job that keeps me extremely busy (I work a lot of overtime during our busy season, which comes twice a year). But I do have a lot more free time than I used to. I also have managed to create and stick with what I look at as my smartest body of work so far – a novel I have been editing, and re-editing, and then editing some more, for the past 2 years. I have surpassed so many self-imposed deadlines that I have lost count. I am still as in love with my characters and storyline now as I was in the early days (which I think is a good thing since most of my writer friends who have been doing this longer than me tell me you can sometimes lose interest in your work if you let it go on for too long).
I do suffer from occasional bouts of writer’s block. In addition, my lack of writing time during my crazy work schedule frustrates me to no end. I become filled with doubt at times that this book will ever see the light off day. I believe in this work and these wonderful beings I have created on paper. I want to give them life and share them with the world. I dream of the day that I see my name on the cover, the day I hand my mom the book I have written and say “Here you go, Mom. You now have a daughter who is a published author”. I dream of seeing that pride in her eyes. I dream of what my kids will tell their kids and grandkids after I am gone. Maybe during bedtime, they will create stories of a strong, devoted mom who overcame all obstacles and followed her heart to accomplish her lifelong dream.
But then my throat tightens and I feel the terror rise up from my gut. What if I don’t accomplish what I set out to do? What if I never finish my book? What if I don’t publish it and all this will be for naught? Someday when I am taking my last breath, will I look back on my life with regret? No one can make this happen but me. I can finish this book, and make it as great as I know it could be, or I can let fear overtake me and procrastinate each weekend until I can’t bear to even think.
I have to do this. I NEED to finish this. I can do this. I can do this. Right? I CAN DO THIS. WRITE!!!!!!
Wish me luck!
Love and Peace!
Currently Listening To:
Tom Petty – “Running Down a Dream”