Dedication. Determination. Perseverance.
These words have been on my mind this year, though it isn’t as if they’ve never played a part in my life before. As a returning student in the 90s, for instance, I needed all three. Walk the kids to school. Ride my bike to campus, even in winter, since it saved money. Cook, clean, and work on homework late. It yielded a graduation, degree, and honors.
Yet, this time it’s different. It means more to me than any career pursuit (not the kids…never the kids). Of course, I’m talking about writing and its lengthy learning curve. Maybe it’s longer for me than others, but that doesn’t matter. The pursuit of a dream is a cherished journey.
It’s also a journey without end. That’s okay, and even that admission is a step forward. There was a time not so many years ago when I thought I’d arrived at my destination. Not now. My perspective is clearer. In writing, the end-of-the-road involves a casket and flowers. I actually like that. I’m all about the pursuit, the continual desire to improve.
I’ll pat myself on the back for admitting my failings and taking the hard road 18 months ago. That meant realizing my destination was a false summit. I can’t describe what a bitter realization that was. We’re talking upper level soul searching. After, I stood back up and dove into structure, pacing, character arcs, and voice. And there’s so much more ahead. Learn. Learn. Learn.
I’ve dedicated this month to editing short stories, of which I have many, and find myself more easily spotting and fixing Deep 3rd Voice problems. A year ago I’d agonize over a sentence, give up, pace the apartment, return to the computer, and try again. The struggle was me corralling wasps. Now? More like honey bees. Professional athletes talk about “the game slowing down” and I believe it’s a bit like that. I could just call it learning and move on, but it’s more.
I envy anyone who reached this point much sooner in their life, but that doesn’t make me appreciate the moment any less. I guess that makes me a late bloomer, but that’s okay. Maybe writing success will elude me. Well, what’s success? What degree of success is success? I’ll treasure the journey and see where it leads.
Right now, in this moment, there’s profound gratitude and thankfulness. How fortunate I am to have the opportunity to explore my creativity. At long last I’m touching the magic I’ve so long sought. This treasured moment is now and I’m savoring it. I’ll keep writing and learning and honing my craft, but there’ll always be this priceless moment on the way and another and another until the flowers arrive.