Not competing with
anyone except myself,
and I still might lose.
I wrote that haiku on the elliptical one day, when I was struggling to meet my previous distance goal. I lost.
The words can be applied to any endeavor, really, if you insist on always topping yourself like I do.
But you know what? The hell with it!
I’m about to turn 62. That’s early retirement age. I’ve been working full time at various not-really-me jobs since I was fourteen and started babysitting. I’ve been a chambermaid, waitress, dishwasher, administrative assistant, editor. Currently I’m an inept webmaster for the federal government. My degrees are in theater, singing, and creative writing, so my employment history makes sense.
I was traditionally published for the first time in 2002, so naturally my next goal was to get an agent and get published by a less crappy traditional publisher. So far, that hasn’t happened. I’ve spent years beating myself up over not achieving that goal.
I’m done. Not with writing, but with stressing about writing.
I write because I love to write. I’ve done it since I can remember, starting with terrible poetry when I was four. (I still suck at poetry.) I love meeting new characters (I know I actually make the characters up but it doesn’t feel that way), hearing their stories (I know the stories actually come from me but it doesn’t feel that way), and finally transcribing them into a book.
So that’s what I’m going to do. Well, keep doing, but with a far less neurotic approach.
I do this because I love it. It’s my heart. I don’t need to compete with myself or anyone else. This doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying, it just means I’ll enjoy the process a lot more if I’m not wringing my hands about “failure.”