What is more exciting when you have a preset destination in mind; the journey in getting to said destination or arriving at the actual destination itself?
Tough call isn’t?
I bet if you took a random poll you’d get many different responses and a multitude of reasons why they answered what they did.
What I want to talk about is the journey in getting to said destination. I think I just heard half of you groan. Yes, I’m sure many of you are remembering tortuous family car trips as a child. I hope this doesn’t bring about any PTSD so I’ll jump right in and get to it.
When I began writing I could only see the finish line, or more appropriately the final destination. Write a Pulitzer prize winning novel, get published, become famous, and get invited to the Oprah show (yes, I daydreamed a lot about being on Oprah) and life would be a-ma-zing. End of journey.
I sort of missed the entire journey part and what it took to reach the destination. No one mentioned the cracks in the pavement, potholes in the road, detours, tollbooths, needed passports, maps, GPS’s, did I forget to mention that this journey would be long and sometimes unpleasant and perhaps a bit stinky? I should probably leave my sparkly shoes for Oprah in their box since this journey required comfy, ugly shoes.
Crap. Do not pass go, do not collect $200 and do not put on your sparkly shoes.
What I forgot about myself, first and foremost is, I’ve always been a writer, or at least highly creative. I may not have known to put all of my “stories” to pen and paper, but I have lived in a fantasy world for as long as I can remember. I heard the word Author and instantly I not only revered it, but also feared it.
This all mighty word is my destination. It is my dream. Dreams are awesome! Dreams can also shatter and turn into nightmares.
Could chasing the golden goose turn on me and turn my goose into bronze? How would I suddenly turn off a life filled with creativity if all my fears were confirmed? Wouldn’t living with my doubts be better than living with rejection? Suddenly I wasn’t so sure about this journey. Wasn’t there an option, like in the game of Life, for the short route to instant success? Where was the easy button?
I looked down the long road to where I wanted to go and my destination suddenly seemed so far away. With each passing day it became apparent that I knew nothing about filling in potholes or taking backroads to avoid tollbooths. My dream of ever wearing my sparkly shoes on Oprah was diminishing. I was diminishing.
For a long time I took the safe route avoiding every construction zone possible. My sensible shoes were supporting my feet. I was respectful. Dotting every i, crossing every t, and I hadn’t been pushed out into traffic once. I also hadn’t been inspired for longer than I can ever remember.
I recently took out my destination map and looked at that big, scary word again. Author. For reasons I’m still coming to grips with, I kicked my own ass into oncoming traffic. Immobilized by fear, self-doubt, insecurities, lack of self-worth, the list goes on and on, I stood there looking back at where I’d been and then ahead of where I needed to go.
Where I’d been standing seemed safe, but ultimately it was a place of constructed roadblocks that I’d set up for myself. A false sense of security to make me believe my quirks and short comings would be better off living within the box I’d put them in. I wasn’t living a safe life, I was starving my creative side. A side I’d always treasured about myself, but for some reason was allowing to die.
When I turned and looked out at the new road ahead of me, sure it seemed scary, well, I won’t lie, it was scary. I knew I would face rejection. I also knew I would face criticism. In this industry it would be strange not to. But, I wasn’t going to let my own insecurities keep me from enjoying the journey. Not this time. I was going to focus on just being a writer. Sure, earning the title of published author would be rich buttercream frosting on a slice of decadent cake, but for now I will focus on enjoying this journey to the fullest.
Until next time, keep reading, keep writing, and good fortune.