Sometimes I really hate myself. Not in the sense of “My butt is too big” hate myself (my butt is perfectly sized for sitting on), or “Why can’t I be six-foot-five?” hate myself (I already have enough knee problems, thank you very much); but something more along the lines of “How did I let myself get this comfortable?” hate myself. My particular strain of disappointed self-loathing stems from the fact that in the quest to be a good provider for my family, I have fallen into the age old trap of “A Good Job with Retirement Benefits.” It occurs to me that although securing oneself on the all-important career path may seem like an appropriate exercise for anyone with any shred of responsibility and/or ambition, in actuality it is easy for that same career to become much like a narcotic, preventing a person from taking any sort of risk and ensuring that he stays on that career track to the exclusion of other less lucrative, secure, or dare I say it, fulfilling life choices.
Which brings me to this website. From as early in my life as I can remember, the one career choice I always wanted was to be an author. I learned to love reading from a very young age, so the appeal of storytelling has always loomed large in my own list of best things to do with my life. But like so many other aspiring writers, I didn’t follow that particular dream. I took the safe route and got a real job. I have been very fortunate that this particular job has turned into a 21 year (and counting!) career, and I have been able to enjoy my work a great deal for almost all of that time. Not many people are lucky enough to have a job like that, so I am grateful.
The problem with all this is that in spite of how much I enjoy my day job, I still never addressed my dream job. I never took that leap of faith, thumbed my nose at the naysayers, and just went out and got it done.
Then I turned 45.
I’ve never been one to dread getting older – it’s a fact of life, and doesn’t particularly bother me. On my birthday I joked with my family, “Woohoo! Halfway to 90!” But turning 45 and realizing that I’m closer to retirement than young adulthood did make me stop and think. The last 45 years have gone by pretty much at ludicrous speed, which means the next 45 may just melt what little hair the first 45 missed. I realize that I no longer have the luxury of putting off dreams for the sake of practicality or fear of failure. I have no desire to look back on my life and loathe the fact that although I may have succeeded at the so-called American Dream, I failed miserably at fulfilling my own. Turning 45 was just the culminating point for a lifetime of wishing. The next 45 years of my life are going to be filled with doing.
This website is the public declaration of that intent. I realize that I’ve always been an author; I’ve just never been paid for it and nobody outside my close friends and family has ever seen my work. So this site will chronicle the progress, successes and failures of my second career as a professional author. I am already working on my first novel, and have ideas brewing for more to follow. I don’t expect my writing to pay the bills anytime in the near future, but I’ll consider myself successful when I publish my first book – whether or not anybody buys it.
Dreamers dream. Writers write. Time to get to work.
Are you a writer? Leave me a comment and share what drives you to write. I’d like to hear your story.