Take a walk around your local bookstore. The amount of books stacked within those four walls can be intimidating.
Think about the new books (hardback, paperback, audio, ebook) being cranked out each day.
Sometimes I think, "Look at all the new books out! There has got to be room in there for me somewhere!"
And what about poetry, screenwriting, play writing, comic book, graphic novels, journalism! The possibilities seem endless.
Then that mili-second passes and I am reminded of just how many people are out there trying to get published and never do. How many manuscripts got sent out just to get those dozen new releases on that book shelf that week? That's not just daunting it can be down right debilitating.
And what about everything else we risk. This is an incredibly time consuming and often a very lonely task. Let's face it. Until we get to the point where we can walk into that bookstore and it's to sign books and not just buy them, most of us are working at other gigs or going to school or raising a family or doing all three! Where's the time? On the commute, during nap time, between classes, after dinner, at night while everyone else is asleep and you were wishing you were as well.
While everyone else is snuggling on the couch eating popcorn and watching the latest new release, you're listening with one ear while stabbing away on the laptop. How many times does it seem like we have to check out of the rest of our lives to do this. And for what? Rejection letters? .01 cents a word? Huge waves of guilt when you hear your kids playing dolls and one of them says to her plastic baby, "Not right now honey, mommy's busy." Oh, kill me why don't you?
Forget all that for a moment. This is really hard people! I don't sit down to my computer and whip out prose that would rival the best Hemingway had to offer. It doesn't happen that way. Sure, maybe, every once and a while I get a charge of inspiration where the words just burst out. Maybe. But most of the time, not so much.
No. Most of the time I work and work at it and end up with something that falls insultingly short of where I intended for it to go. But that's the way it works. Write. Then write it again. And again......And okay once more.
So why? Why do we put ourselves through this? Why risk pouring your heart and soul into work that may never live past our own imaginations. Why put the world away to create a fictional one?
Because, the fear of looking back and knowing that, yeah, maybe I could have would be far worse than any rejection I received. Because I won't let fear rule me. Because when I don't, I miss it. Because, despite everything I risk or fear or ultimately win, I can't not do it.