30 September 2010

NOT just a writer????

Ladies and gentlemen, I fear a career may have pounced on me today. And that scares me to death.

All my life, if I've considered myself anything, I've always considered myself a writer. I've put in the time, effort, aggravation, tears, and elation that go along with pursuing publication. I've networked with other writers. I've stalked read agents' blogs. I've absorbed everything I possibly could, always hungry for more.

Today, I made my first 2 app sale. It was my first day on my own, a pseudo-promotion. I made $300. And I had fun doing it. Real fun. It felt sooooo gooooood.

When I returned to the office tonight, I went over my 90-day plan with my manager. And for the first time, I realized that I could be something in addition to WRITER. I could be MANAGER.

Which may or may not involve moving from my beloved Cincinnati. I told him Lexington only because I want to be closer to my parents (moving to Lex would cut about an hour and a half off of my drive). After my mom had a mini-stroke *maybe* last week, and I spent the following days feeling completely helpless and afraid, I vowed to myself that next time, I would be there. I took care of my mom my last 2 years of high school. I love my mom more than just about anyone else. Not being there was a major blow, especially since my sister could be and was.

My fear, though, is two-fold. The first and most important is that I fear the man I love and have loved for 3 years won't go with me. Not that Lexington is a deal-breaker by any means. I would have as much opportunity if I took over Cincinnati. I desperately want to be closer to my mom, but I'll deal with that extra 90 minutes if need be. I've made my life with this man. He is my love, my one and only. We do have grand plans, but God only knows if we'll actually accomplish anything we've talked about. All I know is that he's the only one I want, and no job is worth losing something as absolutely amazing and special as what we have is. So, perhaps this fear isn't so scary after all.

However, the second petrifies me. Responsibility. I loathe responsibility. But I do enjoy my own ambition. I've only been ambitious about getting published. I fantasized (against better judgment) that it would "fix" everything. (Nathan Bransford had a post on this a while back that really hit me. No, not literally.) I wanted being published to be a fix for my bank account and my self-esteem. I thought "making it" would somehow validate my talent. Stupid, immature thought. I don't need publishing to validate my writing ability. And now, I don't need it to pad my bank account. I made $300 today. To me, that's absolutely amazing.

So then, why still pursue publishing? Because I said I would, and I won't back down from that. It's not validation and money driving me. It's the DRIVE itself. The inherent need, like bees pollinating flowers or birds flying. It's not some mystical, unattainable object. It's what writers DO. It's like salmon swimming upstream. This is what I KNOW, what I LOVE, what I MUST do.

Writing has been my sanity ever since I knew to put words to paper. It's helped me deal with what life has thrown my way. It's my passion. It's my dream.

And I think today, I learned that it's okay to have more than one dream. I've never thought about owning my own business, mostly because I felt too immature to take on something so grandiose. I always felt my career should be AUTHOR. Because I thought I was born to...um...auth...? Words haven't always flowed from my fingertips, but God knows exactly how much I crave the joys of the written word. It's better than drugs for me (not that I've had them, FYI). It's better than the time I was on vicodin. It's way better than drinking. For me, words are one of the grandest inventions. The Internet certainly runs a close second, tied with Mt. Dew. But seriously. I. Love. Words. I love the idea of painting a picture with them, of introducing new people with them, of transporting another human being into the world that until now has only existed inside my mind. The stereotype of the hermit writer is a false one, though there's some truth in it. Writers share. We put the most vulnerable and secret parts of ourselves on paper and hand it to complete strangers. People we'll never meet, but with whom we connect on a more personal level than we may connect with those we love the most. That's the magic of writing. And I know that that's not something my current employment can provide. Ever. I think of it as being similar to a singer/songwriter and the electricity of hearing 100,000 people singing something that he wrote with the realization that he may be the only one who ever knows the lyrics. It's entirely possible that I'll be the only one who knows the characters that populate my brain. But it's not acceptable. Not by a long shot.

So no. Tonight, I'm not just a writer. I can add entrepreneur to my title. But I'll always be a writer first.

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