Decisions and Stickers
A few weeks ago, I learned that there was a good possibility that my awesome boss was leaving to run another office. This was… okay, traumatizing. My boss is the best thing about my job, a job that had been pretty stressful for most of 2011 but was looking like it might finally settle down.
And to make matters more complicated, there was the possibility that I could take my boss’s job if she left. I’ve been telling my boss for years that I don’t want her job, and she has been telling me for years that she doesn’t believe me, but somehow it never occurred to me that we could be having the conversation for real someday.
So I thought about it, and cried about it, and talked to friends and family, and eventually I decided: no. If I moved up to a better job, it would mean more money and more prestige and a chance to make a difference at a higher level, but it would also mean more stress, more long hours, more uncertainty. And maybe I’ll want that someday, and maybe I’ll regret losing this opportunity, but I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is never really giving a writing career a chance.
So it’s time to put myself out there. Time to stop using work as an excuse for why I’m too tired to write, too busy to exercise, too stressed out to do the dishes or make the bed. The only real excuse left is fear — fear of actually getting that first rejection letter, and all the others that will likely follow even if I eventually become the success I think I can be. If I don’t try, there’s still the possibility out there that I’ll be an instant star. But there’s no possibility of ever seeing my name on a cover, and I’ve decided my desire is finally greater than my fear.
So, as my wise (and officially out-going) boss asked, what does giving a writing career a serious try look like? Most importantly, it looks like writing something every day. It also looks like joining some kind of writing group, submitting query letters, and entering contests, but what I need more than anything is to finish a damn book. No one is going to pay me to write 75% of a novel.
To that end, in preparation for NaNo ’11, I’ve made myself one of those charts meant for small children where you reward them with a sticker when they do their homework or use the potty or whatever. I have a color-coding system where I get a star for (this month) writing, cleaning, exercise, health, and crafts. I have no freaking idea whether this will work, but I’m pretty sure ‘doing nothing’ is not working, so I might as well try it. I really do like stickers.