Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Knowing and Believing Are Two Different Things

I was thrown into a slump this weekend by a simple statement. Usually, I  deflect this sort of thing, but this time, despite my acrobatics, the tip of the arrow buried deep. Not in my heart. Not in a vital organ. In my shoulders where I carry all my fear. I think I have a leak.

Discussing my books, I was told, "You won't get rich."

Obviously, the person whose statement caught me off guard was cautioning me about taking dream vacations at the drop of a hat or paying off the mortgage with one giant check. That's one interpretation of rich and I don't resent the uber practical person. It's how they deal with life.

It's an interesting statement, though. First, I will vouch that the person wasn't taunting me like a schoolyard bully. The person is UBER practical to the point of seeing the glass as half empty. Do you know someone who bets on the negative so a) if they're wrong, it's a pleasant surprise, or b) if they're right, they at least retain the pleasure of being right? People love to be justified.

However, the arrow was coming straight at me so I feinted and asked myself, what is "rich"? Is it monetary? There's no doubt that money figures into the equation. I'll feel rich when I supplant my day job with my writing. That's not a lot of money to replace but what a feeling when I do. I'll be rich with pride.

Isn't positive thinking cute?

I kept up the pep talk and asked myself, what is rich on the scale of success? Billions? A happy million? Quitting your day job to sweat bullets over running your own business?

There it is. The wound leaking fear. Will I quit my day job? I'm not afraid to work hard. I long to work hard. But suddenly I heard, "You won't succeed. It's a cute habit but nothing more." 

Initially, I countered by delving into my draft and working my ass off. I felt good but the wound still ached. Next I read through my work and I saw months, not days, of writing before me. I only have days to make my deadline.

And then, just to make sure I'm at my most positive, I read articles about the market changing. Have I missed the window. Again? Whether the industry trend is true or not, I have a deadline looming and I'm not going to make it. I will miss a window of opportunity. I'm sick of missing windows of opportunity. 

Of course I won't quit trying. I know how to work through a manuscript. But I'm disappointed. And I'm scared. A chunk of my motivation was to work with someone. The possible need to find a new someone beats me down.

I've told myself that when chasing dreams, it helps to take off that bulky parachute of practicallity because it's always opening whether there's danger or not.

I've told myself that I'm rich in dreams. I'm rich in enthusiasm. Some days, I'm even rich in success (a positive review, good feedback, interested people). So I chant over and over: hardwork, tenacity, and a little luck help to determine the pay out.

I'm not writing novels purely to leave the rat race. I want to race in my best event. I'll compete past "retirement age" with pleasure. 

Here's my cheer: 
Don't be limited by "rich." 

Define "rich" and be it.

See, the problem isn't knowing how. 
It's believing.