The rat race. Though common, it’s different for everyone depending on your career. My rat race consisted of getting up at 5:30 a.m.; getting the kids off to school; jumping on the toll road to get to work (while paying $100 per month in the process); working from 8:00-3:30; working late from 3:30-5:15; flying up the toll road to pick up the kids from after-care before they closed and charged me for being late; grabbing a fast food meal because I was too tired to cook; staring at my messy house because I never had time to clean; responding to my children with robotic moans and grunts in acknowledgement as they tell me about their day; and going to bed late trying to finish one last thing for work before I had to get up the next morning and do it all again. What a mess! Why do we live like this? Why was I living like this? Something had to give. So I gave up the rat race and decided to focus on my family. I would be a Stay-at-Home Mom!
Of course, it wasn’t long before I realized I needed a focus while proclaiming myself to be a stay-at-home mom. I toyed with the idea of working on my children’s book. Ahh, yes. The children’s book. The five-year-old children’s book that had been collecting dust while my partner, the artist, and I laughed about how we needed to get serious and finish the book (yet, we never did). The ongoing five-year old joke that hovered over us as we continued to live our lives in the daily grind, was slowly beginning to haunt me.
I have written for pleasure and leisure my entire life. I majored in English and wrote to earn those credit hours I was paying so much for. I continued writing for years thereafter. But with all this writing going on, all this wasted creativity, I never published or shared my writing with the public. How could I open myself up to such scrutiny? What would people say? What would they think? I couldn’t possibly subject myself to such rejection. It was becoming clear that fear was keeping me from pursuing my artistry. I had to understand that I needed to stop focusing on all I had to lose and start focusing on all I stood to gain if I simply tried to pursue a career in writing.
But how? I didn’t know the first thing about writing for a public audience, let alone getting published. I wasn’t ready for this. Was I? I suddenly found myself wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into. I was hyperventilating at the very thought of it all. I was starting to think I should go back to work. Doubt was settling in . . . again. I had built my career in teaching, so I would just go back. But, who goes back to the classroom in February? . . . That’s stupid! I was just all over the place. Who was I to think I could write for a living? Excuses, excuses, excuses.
After about six months of this, the-only-one-keeping-you-back-is-you mode of thinking; and a swift kick in the rear by a girlfriend and supportive-but-annoyed husband, I finally faced my fear and devoted myself to my writing. I set a daily schedule for myself and began researching the different types of writers, genres, and styles. I began looking into freelance writing and reading blogs. And finally, finally, after all these years of sitting on that children’s book, I went on the hunt for a professional editing service. It was time to pursue a dream, no longer a fear, but a dream, of becoming a writer. I have no idea what’s in store for me, but that’s what makes for a good adventure.