Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Some people wear their heart on their sleeves. I wear mine on my desk! When my desk is a mess, usually, so is my life.

A year ago, I thought my life was finally on a perfect path - I was on the path of a writer. Now here I am, still in the same place. Things are looking very familiar; the bend in the road, I've tripped over this bump before, the fork, that tree, this sign... I've been here before.

I thought I learned, but perhaps I didn't. Not really. I still have not broken into the freelancing world enough to support not "working" so I can stay home and write my novel and be there for my kids. Once again, it is that old tug of war between needing to make money, and wanting to write and be with my kids. What's a writer to do??? Or any artistic type for that matter.

I read books about the law of attraction and thought I truly surrendered, but tell me, how do you know when surrendering is not working... When they turn off your power? Take away your house? When?

OK, so none of that has happened to me. YET! Thank G-d. But I just don't know how to do this. I want to be a writer so badly. But more than that, I want to be able to sustain my life by being a writer. Is that so much to ask?

Say, you were an engineer. You loved math and solving mathematical questions. So you went to college and studied and worked really hard and graduated with a degree in engineering. Now say, there actually weren't any jobs where you could interview, actually interview. So instead, you stayed home and worked on hypothetical problems hoping one day someone would recognize the elegance in your equation and finally pay you for the years of turmoil and dedication you already put into engineering. Sounds crazy right? But that's what we all do. That's what we are all doing right now.

We, perhaps, studied English or art in college and poured our heart and soul into it to only graduate and not know what to do with our studies. Or perhaps you were like me with parents who warned me there'd be days like this, so I majored in music and education instead. So, now I am here... we are here... writing for no other reason than we must. Hoping, waiting, praying, surrendering to the Universe, that the right editor, agent, publisher will be paired up with us (Universally speaking) and all our dreams will finally come true to pay us for all the years or turmoil and dedication.

But what if that doesn't happen? What if that never happens? Sure. I must be positive. Yeah. I know. The law of attraction. But honestly, we are all hoping and dreaming on an industry that is backwards and one of the hardest to break in to. Again, name another profession you study and work towards, but there is no actual job for? Only the very few, lucky ones, get a job.

Yes, I am a little bitter today. And I am sorry for unloading. But hey, this is a Diary of a Children's Book Writer, right? And this is the honest truth of what a writer's down is like. You question your whole life's work and wonder why you MUST do what you do.

If G-d gives us each talents, and if ours is to be writers and artists, why then, why can't that talent feed my family? And not... well, it might, one day feed your family. Why can't it feed my family TODAY?

So, yes, my desk reflects my inner feelings. I am frustrated. I want to be positive. I want to believe. I want to make it. I want to be successful. I want to believe that if G-d gave me this talent it was not to simply torture me with.

I do truly believe I can be a great writer. I do truly believe my novel can be a well-read book. I do truly believe I can have that life. But my trouble is... this path, this familiar stretch of bends and hills and bumps... is so dark and murky with haze that I cannot see where I am supposed to go to fully realize that picture I see and believe is a possibility in my head. I don't know how to navigate on this road, my journey. I don't see a light at the end of my tunnel. Yet. And so for now, me and my desk... we're a mess!


PJ Hoover said...

Emailing you offline...

Jeanne said...

Fear not, my friend. Sometimes the forest gets very dark. But just like the sun is always behind the clouds on a rainy day and even through storms, the light is angling through the trees up ahead. Meanwhile, make a mess and revel in it - everything is part of the process. Just keep your compass with you, take a deep breath and pick up your path again.
Knowing you and I share a love of good quotes, I opened a book about creativity that's special to me, and believe it or else, here's the page and quote it opened to:
"Adventures don't begin until you get into the forest. The first step is an act of faith."
- Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead drummer
Need I say more? :o)

Sheri said...

Thank you PJ. Your email was very encouraging and btw yes, I've tried a glass, a bottle, a case...

Jeanne Thanks. Mickey Hart for TGD said that? Interesting. I didn't know he was such a philosopher. It's keeping the faith that is harder than that first step to me. But this too shall pass...

Jeanne said...

OK, OK - not exactly the "write" quote - let's see - any better?
"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." - Andre Gide
"I cannot expect even my own art to provide all the answers -- only to hope it keeps asking the right questions." - Grace Hartigan
"It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing." - Duke Ellington and Irving Mills.
Howzat? :o)

Sheri said...

Jeanne, I liked the first quote - sorry if I made it sound that I didn't. But I really love the Andre Gide quote. That one is awesome. Maybe it should be our June quote for HCCWG.

Oh and by the way.. do wha, do wha, do wha, do wha, do wha, do wha, do whaaaaaaaaaa.

Jeanne said...

Andre Gide's IS a great quote - and a bit of shoring up for all of us who get a little weary of not getting where we'd like to be even vaguely in the time we'd hoped to get there. I'm sure he'd be proud to be on the HCCWG blog!
So albeit in the darkest part of the forest, at least you're feeling a tad musical - a good sign! :o)

Dawn Buthorn said...

A messy desk (and house) is the sign of a creative mind. The more creative the mind, the more extreme the mess. Keep the mess and keep on writing. Hang in there!


Sheri said...

I re-read the Andre quote again today and still loved it!

Dawn, I agree, I love the built-in cliched excuse for us talented folks - messy house means a creative mind - we have the right to be messy!

“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous