For a year and a half, all my futures have been uncertain. All of my tunnels twist and obscure the light at he end, keeping it out of sight. I know what I want to do, and I know what I need to do, but the real challenge is keeping my mental health in the forefront of the journey. It’s so easy for me to feel good and forget about the upkeep, causing a backslide that amplifies in magnitude each time. I think about getting a second job but wonder what impact it would have on my mental health—some days I feel like I can barely manage the one job I have, and to give my writing time over to another source of stress is a trade that doesn’t feel worth it. Writing keeps me sane and happy—I need it like I need food and sleep.
I’m working on a short story collection that I’ll hopefully have finished by December first. In an effort to get myself paid, I’m going to sell it through my website—learning from the mistakes of my first book. I figure, who doesn’t like getting a book for Christmas? Bonus points for being written by a guy you know. I’m going all out—print book, e-book, audio book, and a special package that gets you my first book as well. I’m excited about the project as a whole, and this is how I get; I get all fired up over it and just want people to have it, and I end up devaluing my time and work because of it. I sold fourteen copies of End of Side One, and I chalk that up to self-esteem and a lack of understanding of what my own project was—not the price. It’s a book set to music. I should have been telling people that—but, being embarrassed to talk about my own accomplishments, I would fumble over my words and not be able to explain what it was, leaving me with a shoebox full of paperbacks and cassette tapes under my bed eight months later.
This time it will be different, and I’m going to use it as a launching pad. The collection has really turned up the heat when it comes to my writing and my output is higher than it ever has been. After I self-publish for the second time, my next goal is to be actually published.
When I dig deep and think of not just what I want to do, but what I want to accomplish in life—I realize that I have to just make the best of what I have. It kills me that I live with my mother at twenty-nine after a divorce, it makes sense—it’s only on paper that it feels embarrassing, but I crave my own space. I wonder, almost daily, if I could write myself there. I know that it’s unrealistic to think of being a full-time writer, unless I was a journalist, or a novelist like the folks you can buy in a grocery store—but it is possible to supplement my income with writing. I just have to get my foot in the door, something I’ve tried and was utterly defeated at. Almost every writer started as something else, I’m retreading old ground, but Michael Crichton was a doctor. John Grisham was a lawyer, and Danielle Steel wrote ads (Danielle Steel is an amazing fascinating woman, and how a movie hasn’t been based on her life is beyond me, BTW). Stephen King was a high school teacher. It’s our lives that make the writing great, and I fear that a life spent doing nothing other than writing would suck the soul out and replace it with a formula.
Finding balance is hard.
See you tomorrow, for real.