It’s that time of the year when majority of people party and pause in the same breath. They take out a notepad (mental or literal) and make a list of New Year resolutions. And few even tally if they truly followed up with last year’s determination. It’s that feeling of control. That adrenaline rush that comes from the hope: The ability to change the upcoming year. To have learnt from the mistakes of the past year. To make your life better.
I, for one, take my list of resolutions very seriously. Maybe because I am a planner. I am an artist at heart but a professional at mind. I need structure. I work better if I have goals laid out for me, both personal and professional. I like to hold myself accountable for my efforts. Some don’t get why I thrive the way I do because unlike them, my dreams and desires aren’t borrowed. I make the effort to find my own world, not live in someone else’s shadow.
Who does that you wonder? We all know women who get their husbands to buy them nice cars, handbags, diamonds, and houses ONLY because someone in their universe got it. We all have met men who chastise successful women just because their wives are incompetent or not driven. I feel sadness, not anger, towards such people. Often times, people with bigger wallets have smaller minds and even tinier hearts to accommodate anything that’s against their grain of familiarity.
Anyway, about a year ago, close to this time, I had made the decision to quit my traditional, day job in marketing to pursue my dream of becoming a full-time writer. It’s not a decision that I made overnight. It was one of the items on my list of New Year resolutions, which I shared with only a handful of people. Call it self-preservation. This way, if it happened, you saw it; if it did not, well, I could avoid the questions.
In this year, I have discovered myself both as a writer and a human being. Writing makes you very aware of your surroundings. And you might not always like what you find out. But along with the hypocrisy, inadequacy, and delinquency of my world, I have seen the value of true friendships and relationships.
God and many people have been kind. I feel humbled by whatever each one of them has done for me. Though quite a few chose to be around when the glamorized aspect of being a writer was on display; many of them were there through thick and thin. Those days when I was unsure of my future, these bunch of folks put their lives on hold to just hear me. And sometimes, all we want is for someone to lend us an ear. A special shout out to all of those generous humans in my life. You know who you are.
Time and commitments have taught me, like other writers and artists, to look past comments like “So, what do you do when you don’t write? Like your real job.” A couple of days ago a high-level professional said to me, “But I thought writers write anytime they feel like.” The old me would have reacted and perhaps justified my choices; the new me used the comment as an anecdote in this blog post. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn ya. J
Every one seems to have a suggestion on how a writer should lead their life. The number of hours they should spend. The content. The list is endless. I don’t need others to tell me how to handle my work. Writing is my full-time job. If I have had three book releases this year, several articles, essays, and poems published, and have two books coming out in the next 4-5 months, I must have done something right! Is it a surprise that the creative types are bit of a recluse? If your every move is speculated and judged, would you really want to share what you are dealing with? You live inside a cocoon with a select group.
I gave every single day of 2010 my sweat and blood. I dealt with my share of rejections and personal interjections. I said to a friend the other day that most folks see the finished product or your name on a piece and exclaim, “You are so lucky. How many books in one year.” Just because I don’t whine doesn’t mean I don’t face my own share of troubles and challenges. But I look at it pragmatically: I have twenty-four hours in a day. I could either waste it on people who blabber or use that time to write. I choose the latter. But I have an elephant’s memory, and I don’t forget.
I have come to an understanding that someone who doesn’t have their own dream can rarely appreciate anyone else’s. At the end of this year, I choose to spend my energy on people who haven’t perturbed my night’s sleep. I refuse to waste my breath on the others because “I have miles to go before I sleep.”
More until next time,
Copyright © 12.23.2010
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt