by Ron Hayes
In the Memeland known as Facebook, there’s a certain meme that has struck me kinda hard over the past few days. It’s the one that frames the new year as a metaphor for a 365-page book for each of us to write. I think the reason it resonates so strongly is because it immediately generates in me a near-overwhelming sense of anxiety. It reminds me I still haven’t published a book.
In a way, though, it reminds me in turn of that old joke where a man dutifully prays for years upon years, each day asking for God’s help in winning the lottery until one day God answers—by telling the poor fool to at least meet him halfway by purchasing a bloody lottery ticket. It’s the same with my writing: I beat myself up almost daily for not being more widely and more frequently published when the truth is, it’s kind of hard for me to expect anyone to publish my work when I haven’t sent them anything to publish.
I guess that’s why I’m calling this my crossroads year. I think it’s time to choose which paths I’m going to meander down and which path I’m going to attack like Trump on immigrants.
I’ll be honest: in terms of writing, my batteries are low. No good reason for it either. Writing-wise I had a great 2015, and I KNOW it has a lot to do with the goals I set last December. While I fell short of achieving (and maintaining) some of those goals, the fact is I read more than I ever have, I submitted more than I ever did before, and I enjoyed more success than ever before. At least early on.
As I sit here today, however, I have to be honest: 2015 was not a banner year for production at my house. I should have been a lot more prolific. I should have gotten a lot more written. I should have done more. I should have more words on paper than I do.
So here’s what the signposts at my intersection say: Current Career Path or Potential Career Path? Ever the pragmatist, I have to view this as an investment decision; to which do I devote the most important of my resources, i.e., my time? I’m in a position I’ve heard many writer friends of mine having struggled with at some time or other – whether to continue pursuing the muse or whether to let my relationship with her devolve into a mere dalliance rather than allow it to keep consuming me as a passion.
What exacerbates the whole issue is realizing that this is born less of self-doubt and defeat and more so as an offshoot of opportunities presenting themselves in my day job. Without numbing you with the inane particulars, I’ll simply say that I have some serious decisions to make in the coming months as regards the time I spend at work everyday. I have no doubt each path that presents itself to me today will be rewarding. One or two may even turn out to be lucrative. And at least two of them I know will certainly mean a commitment to a certain level of self-inflicted anguish.
It comes down to the basic question, I guess: Do I live to write or should I write to live? I wish I had an easy answer to share with you all. I don’t. I’m seriously, seriously torn. I mean, I have no doubt I’ll always write, but what I’m concerned about is how seriously I’ll continue to write.
Have you grappled with this crisis of conscience? How did you resolve it? Help a brother out! A big facet to 5Writers is the give-and-take we’ve always envisioned this site engaging in, so here’s your chance. Respond below. Reply. Share with me and your fellow readers what YOUR crossroads were and how you determined which way to turn. In the meantime, I think I hear my novella calling me back…