I used to feel that if I was awake, it was God’s way of telling me to write.
I’ve been ignoring that, for years. I haven’t been sleeping well, for years.
Maybe it’s time I go back to that mindset– and obey.
In just shy of two months, I’ll be 32-years-old.
I have yet to discern a career path that is linear or even profitable. I eek by, I work weekends and holidays. I miss out on a lot of milestones and parties and family time because of it. I don’t take vacations.
I have the heart of an English major, with an insatiable passion for literature and the stories in the page.
I was going to be a teacher, but instead chose newspapers. I earned a journalism degree from a stellar journalism school. I was a reporter, but abandoned the field and have mostly worked sales jobs since then.
I’ve been questioning ever since graduation why I chose journalism. I’m not an aggressive, muckraking personality. I don’t like the manipulation involved to obtain that kind of information, and have no desire to write investigative stories and expose corruption. Hard news always bored me.
But I *owned* features and human interest stories. The only thing stopping me was my own lack of confidence.
And then my column almost JUMPED into my lap, and I’ve learned to define my opinion and write succinctly. I’ve turned down or talked myself out of every other writing opportunity, but I couldn’t refuse applying for this column. I never expected to get it. But I did.
And it enlivens me, every month. It’s made me wonder, how far can I go as a writer?
People always ask me WHEN I’m going to write a book. I tell them, “I don’t think I’ve lived enough yet,” because I’ve always known that fiction is not my thing. If I do write one, it’s not going to be a novel. I feel entirely too young and unaccomplished to write my own memoir.
But it occurs to me, what if I landed in journalism so I could learn to research, synthesize information, and conduct interviews around a specific topic or person? Maybe that’s my destiny.
I’m so enthralled by Eve Ensler, who travels the world and interviews women to write her books. I would LOVE to be like that. On the other hand, I realize that my privacy in this “small,” ordinary life is a gift. Do I want to give that up, even if I had the opportunity?
Maybe journalism isn’t the endgame for my career– but the springboard toward crafting skills to enable writing a book.
Of course, I have an idea. But I’m protective of that idea, and will not disclose it here. Some of you may have a hunch about what that is, but if so, please don’t make a direct suggestion about it here. I want to keep my topic ideas close to my heart. And I don’t want to be influenced by direct suggestion– I want to be listen to my own voice.
I do and would appreciate any encouragement.
But there’s a reason for all of this. The older I become, the more writing seems an unavoidable part of my professional future.
All of my intelligence is basically social or linguistic, which is also significant.
The main reason I haven’t tried to start a book is that I haven’t been able to focus an idea… and tonight I literally sat up in bed with inspiration. I flew here.
I’m terrified to admit this, to put this out there. I don’t want to what I always do, which is talk a big game about a lofty goal and then get freaked about how to begin or fear of failure– and quit before I start. But I should hold myself accountable to this dream. Even if it takes years– what am I waiting for?
Maybe it’s time I stop running from inspiration, and start writing.