“At least I’ll have this one stupid book.”
I recently hit a rough patch in my life. Actually, recently is subjective. I feel like I fell head-first into a rough patch when I was three, and have been wandering lost ever since. But that could just be me being dramatic.
Recently I hit an extra rough patch in my life. I’m at that stage that every young person goes through, the unexpected quarter-life crisis. The early twenties is a crucial time in our lives where it seems that any small decision will define the rest of our lives. It’s also an incredibly awkward time where we don’t necessarily know what we want to do, or how to get there.
I know where I want to be in ten years, the problem is figuring out how the hell I’m going to get there. I want to be a renowned author (living in a small house in Maine) and much like any dream career, the path is not easy.
Here’s the thing. It’s not just writing a novel. The novel I’m currently querying is the fourth one I’ve written, and it’s a result of all those hours and practice I’ve poured into my keyboard. It’s draft after draft, every line scrutinized and ripped apart and re-typed. All to be sent to an agent, and if you know anything about the publishing world, you know the chances of landing said agent are slim to none. You also know that landing an agent is still only the beginning of the process. It’s years of work and it may never pay off.
In his book, ‘On Writing’ Stephen King said “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
As many other writers before me have pointed out, you have to write for the love of it. And I do love it. But unfortunately love does not always pay the bills and therefore I am in this rough patch where a large part of me knows I can make it as a writer. A small, but still loud, part of me whispers about debt and bills and entering the ominous void know as ‘the adult world’.
This is the part where I give an impassioned speech or leave an inspired moral. Obviously, I’m not going to do that. Because that’s not what this blog post is about. I’m scared for the future. I’m full of doubts and worries and sometimes I don’t sleep at night. Sometimes I cry in my car, though I’ll deny it vehementaly if you ever bring it up.
Sometimes we need to vent, and this is me venting. This is me admitting that writing is hard and the future is scary. And you know what? I do feel a little better now for saying it. I guess if there is a lesson to this, it’s that sometimes you need to talk about your fears without immediately adding that it will be okay.
I said I wasn’t going to leave an inspired moral, but neither will I end on a dreary note. My fourth novel is being queried. I am two chapters away from finishing my fifth, a middle-grade fantasy I wrote for my sister, and I’m really proud of this one. I’m twenty-one, I’m traveling and writing non-stop and life is actually not so bad. The future might be, but that, like the entire contents of my to-do list, can wait.