Good morning all!
Many years ago, I joined a writer's group offered through my local park and rec department. The woman in charge of the group was a very talented author and the group itself was made up of an eclectic collection of young and old, poets and fiction writers, humorists,
Kathie and I took different approaches to making our writing dreams come true. I got bogged down in day jobs that sort of paid the bills and definitely squelched my energy and drive for my dream. Kathie, on the other hand, followed her path with a single-minded focus, not letting much stop her.
She's made her dream, her full dream, a reality. She and her husband, Michael, own and run the lovely All Writers Workplace and Workshop in Waukesha. She has students from all over the globe taking her workshops and she travels quite a bit for speaking engagements and workshops. Oh, and she's about to release her fourth, yes her fourth, honest to goodness novel, put out by a publishing company.
Of course I'm proud of her! Who wouldn't be? And yes, I'm also a little jealous. She's supporting herself and her family with writing. It's what every single person who puts words on paper or on a screen or on a cocktail napkin dreams of, and she's doing it. Meanwhile, I followed the rules (I thought) and I'm on the cusp. I've written a lot...but I'm not supporting myself and my family...not yet.
A couple things happened recently that have made me reevaluate my life a little. For the past nearly ten years I've been working the standard office job women of my age work, and I've stifled. I've put on wads of weight, I've gone almost completely gray, and while I've been pretty entertaining for many people with my Elsie W. books, I've lost of my sense of whimsy. Getting let go a couple months ago might have been the best thing that ever happened to me.
The other thing that happened is I rejoined Kathie's workshop a couple weeks ago and I couldn't be happier. Once again I'm in the midst of a really eclectic group of people. Outside the confines of the studio, I doubt many of these folks would agree with me on many of the big life topics, but it doesn't matter because inside the studio we are all one thing: We are writers. We are authors. And we are all working together, for ourselves and for each other, to get published, to be read.
Last night I got a phone call telling me I did not get the office job for which I'd gone through two interviews. And I nearly wept I was so relieved. That's the moment when I realized that yes, I do need to get a job, but maybe, just maybe, that job doesn't need to be the 8-5 weekday job that locks me at a desk and makes me crave snacks all day long. Maybe, just maybe I need to think about the jobs that I really loved, the ones I did back when I just needed something to fill the income gap between my husband's check and our bills. Those funny, funky, after hours gigs outside the corporate world that didn't pay much, but put me in touch with some of the most colorful, most interesting people I ever met.
Maybe, like the amazing and beautiful Kelly Clarkson sings, "I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly." And in freeing myself from the bonds of the expected path might take me to where I really want to be: Supporting myself and my family with my passion for storytelling.
At least, today, that's the path I think I'm going to try and follow.