There Are Many Things I Used To Be

I experience my fair share of triumphs and challenges as a writer. I weather the ups with what I hope is grace and manage the downs with admitted frustration. Yet, along the way, I believe there is a reason for every joy and struggle placed in my writing path.

There is always a lesson waiting to be learned.

As I approach a milestone age (I will turn fifty later in the year – fifty!) and celebrate ten years of creating fiction, I cannot help but reflect.

I accept that I may no longer be at my peak of productivity. But maybe an inspirational surge of creativity is just over the horizon.

I realize my writing style, work pace, goals, and sense of purpose may have shifted. Or perhaps nothing has changed at all.

I acknowledge that I cannot keep up with an industry that is fiercely competitive, low in profitability, demanding, and ever-changing. Or maybe I simply refuse to fall prey to get-rich-quick promises, follow every new trend, and compromise my beliefs.

I chose to be a writer because I cannot imagine being anything else. This has not changed. And yet, I am not the same person I was when I began this writing journey. I used to be…

CAREFUL – I diligently followed every rule and played it safe because I believed that was the only way to compete. NOW? I take chances and do things my way. I rewrite the rules and define success on my terms.

INESECURE – I worried about putting myself and my work out there because I believed I was not good enough. NOW? I do not base my worth on the comparison with others. I am confident in my ability and proud of my product.

STRESSED – I worked tirelessly to keep up with the publishing schedules, sales numbers, marketing efforts, and blogging levels of those around me. NOW? I create at a pace suitable for my family, myself, and my life. I find peace in the process.

AFRAID – I believed those with far more talent and knowledge would judge my efforts or reject me altogether. NOW? I embrace my flaws and seek out anyone who can help me improve. I place learning over fear.

SENSITIVE – I took every review, every comment, every dismissal personally. NOW? I welcome criticism and thoughtful feedback and no longer internalize rejection. I am a stronger person and a better writer.

SERIOUS – I had a precise, complicated, and unwielding approach to writing, one in which schedules, deadlines, and tasks were high priorities. NOW? I simplify my process so I can enjoy my moments. I focus on what matters.

UNREALISTIC – I set high goals and unfair expectations for myself and others. NOW? I recognize my limitations and prioritize tasks by time, ability, and need. I learn to let go.

If I plan to continue on as a writer, I realize I must partake in unfun activities and play nice. But still, stubborn has always been an adjective to describe me and over the years, it has become more accurate. Yes, sometimes conformity is necessary, but I believe there is a greater good to come from staying true to the writing itself and following the heart rather than the crowd.

Understanding who we were, embracing who we are now, and looking forward to who we become? I believe that is the key to longevity in this crazy thing called writing.

Photo by Barnabas Hertelendy @ Unsplash.