Tomorrow, I say goodbye to the life of the undercover writer, the skulking figure who pretends to write emails while secretly adding words to their WIP, and fills their lunch breaks and evenings putting words to page. Tomorrow, writing becomes my job.
When I tell people my plans, their words for it are “courageous” and “lucky” and things that you know mean they’re glad you’re taking the plunge instead of them. Sometimes, I agree with them. The moments of fear surrounding the unknown are not fleeting. Most of the questions circling my brain are concerned with money. As romantic as the portrait of the starving artist is, I have no desire to become one.
The deeper questions, the ones that truly do give me pause, have to do with success. When you tell a large group of people that you are leaving a successful, well-paying corporate job to write all day instead, no book contracts, no guarantee of success, there is a certain expectation that comes with that. This group expects that if you are leaving, then you must be damn good. You must be very confident in your abilities. You must be up next for a Pulitzer Prize, or at the very least, a hefty contract and 3-book deal.
More heavy still are my own expectations. I am confident in my abilities. I do believe that what I write, people will want to read. Someday. More than letting down family, friends and co-workers, I am afraid of failing myself.
And, what if I just can’t write all day long? What if creativity alludes me in such a wealth of time and space? After all, most famous writers did any number of odd jobs while writing until they made it big. What makes me think that I should be different? That I should leave the world behind to sit in a cave and write, and think that that is the only way to success?
These are the doubts of a bad moment. In a good moment, like the moment that I made this decision to pour every ounce of myself into this writing thing, I have no fear, no worries about the future. I know that all I need to do is sit down and write. Write until my eyes go bleary and my fingers bleed. Chasing the words flowing through my head, trying to catch every last one and tie it to the page. If I do that, no matter how long “success” takes, that is my success.
Tomorrow, I write.