I Googled the answer to this question and found the one answer Google doesn’t know. There is no specific number on unpublished, dedicated, trying-to-break-in writers. Personally, I know 700+ on Twitter and another 100+ on Facebook, all of whom I find I’m grateful to know. But there are thousands more I don’t know, which means if I don’t follow my dream of publishing, there are, at least, 800+ people out there who will.
So why bother?
I’ve been in the doldrums lately. I could go into the ins and outs as to why, but it’s not really important. What it boils down to is feeling stuck. In a rut. The size of the Grand Canyon. With no search team. Or cell connection. Or GPS. I’m not too worried about it. Droughts have as much significance as the rains and somehow they all balance out.
Fortunately, I have a mother. That one person in the world who believes that her angel sings better than all the other kids, even if they are tone-deaf and screaming at the pageant. We had a long conversation today about my doldrums. And then? She told me about an essay contest at Real Simple. Doldrums be gone and I found hope again. More than hope…excitement. I wanted to start writing right then, but Mom wanted to talk more. The mention of that contest reminded me of another contest for a woman’s magazine. I’ve been trying to enter it for years but struggled with the theme of things women today face. The story never came together, but I have a month and a half to figure that one out.
It feels good to have something to work towards again. A goal. A plan of action. One thing to focus on. I guess that’s the way I live my life. All common wisdom says to live in today, which I’ve been trying to follow. Just today. Not yesterday or tomorrow. That common wisdom goes against the way I work. I’m a goal seeker and find it difficult to focus on one day at a time. I live for the thrill of my next adventure, the titillation of a new story, the hope of win. Even in school, I sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the next big project to passed out on a Xeroxed paper. Having no plans for the future left me feeling hopeless. I need something for my brain to chew on.
I suppose I’m missing the point. It’s not that I don’t love my day to day life, especially now that my son is home from visiting his father’s. But what do people think about in their downtime? Me? I watched the entire series of Teen Mom. Fascinating stuff, I’ll tell you. But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life watching someone elses. I think I lost a few IQ points during that time.
I’d rather have something to work towards. I even have a story to fit the woman’s magazine theme. Maybe I became a real woman over the past year. As for the essay at Real Simple? I’ve got that covered as well. I have something to work towards and the doldrums have lifted. So I dismiss common wisdom. Live for tomorrow. Hope for tomorrow. Dream for tomorrow.
Because if you don’t, 800+ other writers will.