Thursday, December 9, 2010

Follow Your Dreams . . . Don't Miss the Starting Gun

I am a fan of the band Pink Floyd. I have a few CD’s: The Dark Side of the Moon (1973); Wish You Were Here (1975); and Animals (1977). I realize this knowledge will not help you sleep at night, but there is a point I will get to - a lesson I hope you will learn. There is one song from the band that I have adopted as my theme song. The song is simply titled Time. It is from the album The Dark Side of the Moon. I will provide some of the lyrics below (in italics).

**sigh** I am humming the tune in my head and connecting the words with the story that is my life . . .

Ticking away the hours that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way…

Since I was a kid and could scribble on paper I knew I wanted to do something with writing. I would spend hours coming up with what I thought were great story ideas. Tick-tock-tick-tock At the age of 23 I had self-published a small book called Basics to Baby-sitting. Oh, I thought I was writing with the big boys! Tick-tock-tick-tock I even went to a self-publishing conference in Michigan – all by myself! I had a lot of ideas. Tick-tock-tick-tock

Kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way…

I grew up in a rural area, a small county, a tiny town. I was years ahead of my time, but didn’t know it. When I was 17 I participated in the Institute of Children’s Literature writing course. I received a certificate of completion from the Institute of Children’s Literature before I received my high school diploma! Shortly after that I received my first writing gig. I was ready for the world – I waited for someone or something to show me the way. That was where I made my mistake.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today…

I was a young writer - naive. Oh, I was going to write, by golly! Only one problem, my ideas never went anywhere. The writing gig I got went nowhere. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the fellow who approached me to write in the first place was a fly-by-night freak. I suppose I was tarnished by this event. From that time I kept my creativity to myself. It remained in my head . . . trapped. I never talked about my story ideas or shared my writing. When I went to the conference in Michigan I never showed my book to anyone! I felt uneasy and insecure about my writing. I was afraid that people wouldn’t understand my meaning. Worse yet, I was afraid of what people thought. The longer time passed the more my writing ideas began to fade. I never once gave up on the idea of being a writer . . . I just never wrote. I was young and I knew I had time to tap the keyboard when I felt like it.

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run you missed the starting gun…

And then one day I realized I was one month closer to the big 4-0. The days of being 17 and 23 are long gone! You would think that after 23 years my writing portfolio would be filled with the reflection of my achievements in the literary world. It would be a folder loaded with my published writing. You would be surprised. I do have a portfolio with my writing accomplishments, but they are few. I spent a lot of my days considering the notion of being a writer. I applied myself to a certain degree. I see now that while I was waiting for someone or something to show me the way I never thought that the thing or person could be me! Years ago I was closer than ever to being a prosperous writer, but I hesitated. And that, my friend, is the lesson I would like for you to learn. Don’t sit around waiting for someone or something to show you the way. Don't wait for the starting gun.

In the world of writing for money I have learned only I can make it happen. Only I can do the writing and make money at it. I have also accepted that being an independent writer will be a lonely road to travel. Now, that is not to say that I won’t find friends along the way – oh no! In fact, I have made it a priority to find friends in the writing world. People I can talk with and brainstorm with and share ideas and concerns with. I will keep you updated in future posts about the friends I find!

What I mean by Pink Floyd's lyric Don’t Miss the Starting Gun is if you want to make money as a writer then you need to do it - NOW. Don’t sit around frittering your time away thinking about being a writer - imagining all of the great things you will write and how much money you can make. Tick-tock-tick-tock It is okay to ponder this, but do it effectively…now go write something! Tick-tock-tick-tock . 

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