If I spent as much time actually writing as I do agonizing about whether I'm fit to be a writer, I might actually have published something by now.
As part of my promise to myself to more pro-actively pursue being "a writer", I subscribed to Poets & Writers magazine this year. Two issues later, I finally "found the time" to read one of the issues. I placed "found the time" in quotation marks because the reality is that I have time aplenty to read these magazines, I just choose to do something else instead.
While reading a writer's profile in the magazine today, it occured to me today why I may have been avoiding reading these magazines. Sacrifice.
There was a published writer, Nathan Englander, aged 37, who had immersed himself so totally in his first novel that he had cut himself off from friends, become delinquent on his bills, and failed to notice (or address) the ominous crack that had crept across the ceiling in his office.
Then there was Dan Barden, trying to bring up his son while pursuing a career as a writer; writing in ten-minute chunks while his son played, was at swim practice, or took a nap, jotting down notes inbetween cleaning the kitchen floor and folding a load of laundry.
I love to write, but do I love writing THIS MUCH?
Perhaps the reason I have put off reading these magazines is because, deep-down I knew that I would have my worst fears confirmed. That writing takes time, agonizing time, and sacrifice. It takes passion, and dedication, an unwavering focus, a singular vision, a certainty that there is nothing more important than telling a story.
I'm not much for the sacrifice and delayed gratification. I don't play the tortured creative-type well. I want to live and enjoy life today. I like to pay my bills on time. I don't think I love ANYTHING so much as to make myself miserable, or ruin myself financially, in pursuance of it.
I mean, when would I travel?
Perhaps, at the end of the day, this is why I am not a writer. Maybe I just don't have enough passion to do what it really takes to succeed. I'm just too scattered, too in-love with too many things in life to focus so singularly on one thing.
This is a sad thought. I've never wanted to be anything else.
Maybe it's time to let go of the childhood dreams and embrace the reality of who and where I am now, to stop torturing myself for not realizing those dreams. Maybe one day I'll find the passion and vision to write 'the novel' but then maybe I won't. Maybe that's ok.