Sunday, November 21, 2010
Friendship and Perseverance
There have been unanticipated challenges, deadlines, and worries...and the end result is that it's been days since I've opened my story file. I'm fairly certain I will not reach my 50K word goal by November 30th. I still plan to write, whenever I can, right up through the end and beyond, because I find I am no longer willing to simply throw in the towel when it comes to writing.
It's only recently that I began writing again, but I have a long history of wanting to. In high school, I wrote a short story that everyone oohed and aahed over, which was essentially a regurgitation of a book I'd read (in other words: completely unoriginal!). In college, I lived for researching and writing all those papers. In those pre-computer days, I'd spend evenings in the library, with my box of index cards and notebooks, writing everything out longhand before pulling together a final draft on my new electric typewriter. I still remember those nerve-wracking but proud moments of handing in papers I just knew were good.
I interviewed for jobs in writing or editing, but my lack of an internship (I'd worked a secretarial job through college) knocked me out of the game. I ended up taking a full-time position as a secretary/administrative assistant. And then another. And another. A few of them allowed me the opportunity to do a small amount of writing or editing of company newsletters and such, but nothing truly fulfilling in a "writerly" sense.
And when the jobs ended, the parenting began. I made time to be a wife, a mother, a homemaker, a bookkeeper...everything but a writer.
And so I stopped. And along the way, it seems I lost my confidence, pushed back the desire until it barely registered.
I no longer identified myself as a writer.
As my children have grown, I've felt myself growing, too. Coming out from behind all that Mom Stuff I'd needed in the early years, reaching out for something I knew was missing, but I didn't know what it was.
And then fate led me to a new friend I'd never expected, who reignited a passion for reading and soon, for writing. She shared her own fantastic work, encouraged mine, introduced me to another writer friend who shared her journey, too, and helped me find an audience for some of the thoughts in my head. And now, I can claim at least one published essay, a freelance job as a book reviewer, and perhaps even the title of "aspiring author." And if not for that one friend reaching out and recognizing something in me that I'd pushed so far back I no longer saw it myself, I would never have taken those first hesitant steps on the path I should have followed all along.
How far we can come when we open our hearts to friendship, and how unexpected the gifts can be...
The road to here has been a long one, but I'm hoping I've only just begun the journey. I'm blessed with many friends and family who support me in all that I do, who encourage my efforts to continue becoming. While I may not have learned how to juggle it all yet, I've discovered I don't need to stop being me in order to be Mom, Wife, Employee, or anything else that I need to be. I can keep writing, keep trying, even if half of what I write today is garbage and even if I won't be able to grab that title of "NaNo Winner."
After all, there's always next year.
And I know I'll still be writing...