One of my Twitter friends is running this blog hop–where authors confess their dirty writing secrets. I was super intrigued so I decided to participate. And then forgot about it. And then remembered! And then posted. So here’s my dirty confession:
My confession: I want to do it all.
Yep. I’ve decided to play life on hard mode. Sure, I could wait for publishers to pick up my books. Sure, I could have a 9-5 office job. Sure, I could be performing in large concert halls (okay, maybe not now, but I could work up to that, haha). I want to build my own little empire. I want my children or my other descended blood relatives or my adopted robots to look back and say, “Wow Mom/Auntie/Master, thanks for making this for us.”
All this stems from (one of my)prime internal conflicts: my fear of my own mortality. I don’t want to wait for things to happen. I don’t want to waste my time doing jobs that will get me nowhere. I don’t want to spend 5 years getting valuable experience just so I can get an entry level job. (That’s another rant unto itself). What if I died tomorrow? Okay, I know I’m not going to die tomorrow. But what if I did? What if I die next year, or the year after? All of my stories would be lost. Sure, I could state in a will that I’d like someone else to write them if they were so inclined, but then I wouldn’t have the pleasure of writing them myself.
I’m 24 years old. I know I probably have a lot of time left on the clock before I’m gone. But you can never be too sure.
Make every day count. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Saturday or a Sunday or Canada Day or Christmas, or some other special ordained day–holidays are a human construct, and to the universe, today is just another day we’re journeying around the sun. The holiday I look forward to the most is my birthday, because I like to compare my progress in life to where I was at on my previous birthdays.
It’s hard for me to relax when I think this way.
So I keep a to-do list. Some of the things on the to-do list get done. Some of them get forgotten. And I apologize to the people to whom I’ve promised to do things, but haven’t gotten around to doing yet. Prime example of my agreeing to do things and then forgetting about them is this blog hop. Thanks to Angela, though, I remembered and hastily poured my heart out here. But even while I’m writing this up, I’m also composing an email to a distributor. I jump around and do a few different things at once because I feel like my brain works two or three times faster than my body. If I could clone myself, I would. I’d remove all the fear from the Me Clone and have her do sales and marketing for my book, all the time. Not sure what Dave would have to say about that, but oh well.
But, crossing things off that to-do list does make me relax. Recently, I’ve made a rule with myself: do at least THREE things on the to-do list. If I can’t get to the rest, it’s okay. And they don’t have to be big things. Just important things. Like I just emailed interview questions to a indie author I’ll be interviewing next month on YA Fantasy Book Reviews. I emailed a distributor while I was writing this. That’s two things. This is the third thing. Now, I can see if I can do four, five or six things before the next meal.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m pretty proud of the things I’ve accomplished in the 24 years I’ve lived. I’m a somewhat accomplished musician (been playing the fiddle for 16 years), I’ve completed a journalism/psych honours degree, and a publishing post-grad program too, at two great schools. I’ve published my first book and about to publish my second. I’ve made lots of friends. I’ve lived in three provinces. I’ve travelled around Europe (briefly!). I wrote two three-day novels, and several other manuscripts. I’ve performed for thousands of people. I manage to scrape by with the freelancing I do.
Sometimes I have to remind myself of all the things I’ve done so that I feel better about suddenly dying.
I will close this article with a story. Someone please tell me what the source of this faery tale is, so that I can read it in full again:
There once was a princess. She is visited on her birthday that marks her as a young woman by a creature. The creature says, you have to make a choice. You can choose hardship now, or you can choose hardship in your old age. She chooses hardship now. The next day, her family loses everything, and she is forced to work to regain what she had. Year after year, her life looks bleak. Like she’ll never make it. But she eventually ends up building something that she can be proud of, and when she is old, she is grateful that she has her health, and her family, and is even grateful to the creature that put her through the hardship.
I think about this story because I know that someday, I will have the things that I want, and I can enjoy them thoroughly with the time I have, if I just spend time now working for it.
Next to our health, time is the most precious thing we have. And it’s ticking away as you read this.