When I was younger I was ruthless in my decision making. My choice of university was easy (once I got the grades to be accepted!) after hearing so many stories from my Dad of his days spent studying at St. Andrews. Post undergraduate my choice to quit one job even when I didn’t have another one was simple – I knew I could find another one fast enough (and I did). Doing my Ph.D. was a no brainer once I knew I needed it to do the job I dreamed of. Post doctorate it took me about half an hour to accept a job in Arizona – a state I had never visited in a country several thousands miles away from home. But, all these decisions were made when I was a free-n-easy single gal.
Even after the hubby and I got hitched decisions were easy. Indeed, the hitching part was pretty straightforward too – not just the decision of who to tie myself to for, you know, all eternity but where, when and how we would do it was simple even when life threw in a couple of curve balls. Then when it was time to up-sticks and move from the South-West to the Mid-West and give up my career so that the hubs got his dream job I didn’t give it more than a passing thought before I jumped onboard. It took us a week to buy house – a week from the starting-to-look phase to the signing-on-the-agreement phase, and at no time was there indecision. Then something changed. We had a baby. And now that baby is a three-year-old and suddenly decisions seem difficult for the first time ever.
Not the everyday decisions – though I have to be honest and say that making the decision every-freaking-meal what two of us are going to eat rather than just me gets tiresome! – those are still easy. It is the BIG decisions that now seem overwhelming. Where-should-kiddo-go-to-school?, do-we-stay-in-our-house-or-move-to-a-better-school-district?, when-do-I-go-back-to-work?, what-do-I-do-when-I-go-back-to-work?, do-I-go-to-grad-school?, do-we-have-another-kiddo?, aaarrrhhhhhgggg …
When we first moved to Toledo the hubs and I agreed I could take a year off and do what ever I liked – it was during this year that I started doing English classes. It was a complete surprise, albeit a quiet lovely one, when my first creative writer gave me really positive feedback and didn’t send me packing like I had somewhat expected. However, even for the first couple of years I never really considered ‘writing’ to be a future full-time endeavor, probably because I was too shattered from feeding our newly born daughter every 2.5 hours. However, in the last year or so I’ve become more and more intrigued by the question whether or not I have the ability (with a bucketload of hard work) to make ‘author’ into a career. But, how do I do that now that I’m not single and can’t change my life on a dim without consequences?
I know there are a billion writers out there that are dedicated and steadfast in their pursuit for publishing opportunities and free-lance work – many while raising families and holding down day jobs. And I applaud them for it, I truly do. But, I don’t know if that path is for me. Obliviously, I have to keep chasing publications as it is the only way to make me write and to make me better at it. And if I ever get to the point where I am ready to apply for an MFA, or approach literary agents I’ll need proof on my CV that I’ve been working hard at my writing. But what is the ‘end goal’? To be the next JK Rowling? To be the next Raymond Carver? To see my novel on the shelves at Barnes & Noble published by Random House? To teach creative writing at the college level? To teach writing workshops locally with a non-profit? To write one short story a year and just enjoy it as a hobby? All of the above? Esh! More decisions!!!
If anyone needs me I’ll be sitting in the corner hiding under a pillow and willing the right decision to fall into my lap….
How about starting with a goal that seems challenging but at least achievable and then see where it goes from there? eg. I will submit one story per month to a publication, or I will post x amount of blog posts per month/year etc. or I will comment on x amount of other blogs to increase my network of followers etc.
I did a really useful online fiction writing course last year which I found a big help. At some point I plan to do something more in depth like a Masters, but like you, the young kiddo/s are taking up a lot of time currently! The decisions definitely do get harder I agree when you have others to think about, so totally get where you are coming from there.
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Wise words, Rebecca! I’m sure if I broke down the decisions into bitesized pieces it would help the negate desire to run away from them! I like your suggestion of commenting on other blogs – that would be a really nice way to see what others are up and get inspiration. I do need to stop ‘worrying’ about the big decisions and just write – through the summer perhaps I’ll jump on your idea of submitting one story for consideration each month – given that I currently don’t have anything ready that would be a big (but doable) challenge. Thanks for reading and commenting with great suggestions! Happy writing to you too!
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While she isn’t necessarily in your area of writing I’ve loved taking in person classes with Kati Standefer this year. I know she does online consulting too. http://www.katherinestandefer.com/teaching-creative-coaching-writing-editing-research-tucson
Ohhh – that sounds interesting. I’ll go check her out. I’m super lucky that I can do classes here at Uni of Toledo but it is always so helpful to get experience with other authors.