I’ve always been a dreamer. And for all of my life that I can remember, I have dreamt of being a “published author.” When I was little, I just knew I wanted to tell stories and write but by the time I was in the third grade, the words published author were my two favorites.
I loved thinking about being a writer. Imaging the fulfilling life I’d lead. People would love my books! They’d bring joy! And laughter!
They’d change people.
I’d be appreciated and accepted. I’d be applauded. And because I was a writer, I’d still be able to walk amongst the people without being hounded. Oh, I had thought of everything.
The types of books and stories I told evolved as I aged, as did how I imagined myself.
And my imagination was my safety net.
There, I could live in the planning stage of my life. I could marinate in dreams of the future and a world of possibility. It was heavenly, exciting, seductive.
I never finished anything.
I would start a project and keep it going until I’d get bored. Then, I’d start another.
After college, I got a job writing. Industry and technical kind of writing. And all of my writing for myself stopped. I concentrated on the day to day and getting a footing in my new life. But it wasn’t long before I started my writing again.
I worked on shorter fiction, hoping to focus on improving my writing. I developed a group of writer friends that I bounced ideas off of and got constructive feedback from. And my writing grew. I felt confident to delve into longer works and I started novel-writing.
I started a romance novel. I got maybe a third of the way through and got bored. I started another romance novel and the same thing happened.
I started making more plans.
Spending more time thinking about how much I’d love my life once I was a published author instead of doing the writing that could get me there. Would I let my books get turned into movies? How would giving up that creative control feel? I could adapt my own novels into screenplays. I’d have to learn how to do that but I watched a lot of movies and thought I could probably handle that. I had a lot of professors tell me how strong my dialogue was and that’s what a screenplay really was anyway, right? The talking. And, the plot, of course.
One idea turned into another idea and I couldn’t help getting caught up in the excitement and energy of building the story of my future. It could be anything I wanted. Screenwriting sounded so glamorous. Maybe I’d meet George Clooney. It seemed like there was nothing off the table.
I still wrote. I even finished things. But once I finished them, I reworked them. I reconfigured them. I changed them.
Nothing was ever good enough. Nothing was what it was supposed to be. It could be bigger. It could be better. It could be funnier.
Details were tweaked. Settings were changed. Characters got cut.
There was always something that wasn’t ready.
And the planning of my life continued.
I made some progress forward, sure. Hell, I moved across the country. Los Angeles meant I could work on any kind of writing that I wanted.
And I got a job. And I stopped writing. I settled into my new life. I got to know my new city.
I began living in my planning stages all over again. I made friends, went to work, enjoyed myself but with my writing, the future was where it was at.
I cycled like this for more years than I’d like to admit to, hitting strides of truly prosperous writing and then shifting into the life of perfecting things and hiding from my future.
I’m finally living my future.
Most days when I go to bed, I know I’ve put in a really thorough day’s work as a writer. It involves much more than I ever thought it would, due to both naïveté and a changing industry. Getting myself to this point has taken a team of people: friends and family, professionals and amateurs.
It’s mostly taken me, though.
It’s taken me realizing that living the life of a writer was vastly more fulfilling than just dreaming about it.
It’s taken me understanding that the writing itself is the actual reward. Not the finished product, like I always assumed, but the process. The journey I take to create what I’m working on changes me. And the more I write, the more I evolve.
My first book is coming out in a matter of months.
It’s not fiction.
It’s a satire.
And aside from getting married, it’s going to be the greatest moment of my life, thus far.
But not just holding the book in my hands and seeing my name on the cover — the writing of it, the drawing of the cover, the choosing of the chapter headings. Everything. Everything I learned and did and devoted to it. Every fact I researched and every footnote I made. Every “fuck” I wrote and every laugh I enjoyed as people I loved read my words.
I’m going to have something that I actually devoted myself to, from start to finish. I spend each day now, thinking about that fact. I do my social media — the new millennia’s networking. I try to gain inspiration from all the talent in the world around me. I work on my website, hoping it’s conveying who I am the best that it can. I bullet journal, so that I can keep myself on track and organized without making the artist in me go crazy over lists and schedules that bore the shit out of me. I read every day so that I never forget what a good book is. And I write. I try to keep up with my blog, sharing my thoughts and views on the things I feel are important. I’ve got six viable projects for my next book, three of which I’m actively working on. One new nonfiction. One new fiction. And one screenplay turned novel that I’m not yet willing to give up on.
And I’ve never been happier.
I feel like I grow as a human being every single day.
And I’m finally discovering who I am as a writer.
I’m a contradiction.
I’m the things you need to pay attention to as well as the things to help distract you from them.
I use my secrets. I use all my secrets to help split myself open in the hopes that it makes other people feel less alone. And in turn, myself.