So this week I’m finally getting around to the point of this blog, I think… or okay, I hope!
I have always wanted to be a writer. I’ve had many dreams over the years, from wanting to be a marine biologist to a youth pastor to a sound engineer and many other things in between. But wanting to be the author behind some inspiring sci-fi or fantasy novel is one dream that has been with me since I was a child.
Over the years I’ve started many manuscripts, gotten deep within my plotlines, even finished one or two, and started down the seemingly endless task of editing and polishing a completed story. I joined the fanfiction writing crowd for a while, wanting to practice getting into the heads of various characters different from my own. It was a practice in diversifying my writing skills, but as anyone who has ventured a look into the fanfiction world knows, it can be difficult to find readers who will nitpick a writer about keeping a character in character.
Having grown frustrated with my progress, I started working on several original stories at once during 2014-2015. Things went well for a while. I always had another story to work on if I got stuck or bored with my current project. I joined a writing community with a strong focus on helping people polish their manuscripts and getting them ready for querying out to literary agents. But I had also started a new full-time job at the time and that had the unexpected effect of killing my forward momentum. My sense of needing to push for this life goal turned into treating it as just another hobby relegated to curing boredom during my limited free time. I still wanted to be a published author, but it was no longer an urgent task to tackle in leaps and bounds.
The year 2016 came and with it several incidents that broke down my spirit and my drive. These incidents are a topic for another blog entry which I will get to eventually, but the aftermath of them is the important part right now. I gave up on writing, along with all of my other hobbies. When I wasn’t working, I turned into a couch potato, playing computer games most of the time or looking for obscure movies or TV series to watch that most people seem to have forgotten about.
Oddly enough, it was while going through the credits lists of some of my favorite actors on IMDb that I came across a series that I had never given all that much attention to before, Supernatural. After years of ignoring this show, I finally sat down in the spring of 2017 and spent two and a half months catching up on the 11 previous seasons while simultaneously watching the current season 12. I fell in love with the storyline, the characters, and the subplots.
My spirit and my creative drive began to wake up again, and I started writing again too. But reading over those first few chapters of my newest writing turned disheartening quickly. My skills had rusted over my involuntary hiatus and what I produced was absolute crap. So I stopped writing… again.
Now the weird thing about having a fulltime job but not enough motivation to spend money on your hobbies is that it can lead to crazy decisions. While watching the airing episodes of Supernatural’s Season 12, I saw a commercial advertising their official convention coming to Pittsburgh in September of 2017. So I bought tickets to go despite having been a fan for only about three months at the time. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in recent years.
Now I could write paragraph after paragraph about the awesome love and caring that exists amongst the SPNFamily, but that’s not the point of this particular blog entry. (Again, I’ll cover this, too, in a future blog post!) But there was one incident during the three day convention which is important to my current topic. Having bought the Gold level membership, there were numerous autographs that came with my ticket package. Some of the actors doing autographs offered personalized autographs, and I chose to have them use HLHumbert on the items I had them sign. Jake Abel, who played half-brother Adam Milligan on the show, was one of these actors.
When I stepped up to his table, Jake looked at my name and asked, “Are you a writer?”
I replied, “Not yet.”
And he asked, “Why?”
At the time I told him it was because I was busy writing curriculum for work, which was true, but at the same time I knew it was just an excuse.
It didn’t matter that my summer writing attempts had been crap. It didn’t matter that I spent eight to nine hours staring at a computer screen at work everyday. It didn’t matter that I felt discouraged or tired or still heartbroken after the events of 2016. An excuse is an excuse is an excuse. And I knew that if I was ever to get a book published, I was going to have to write it first. It’s not going to write itself!
All of these thoughts gave me a boost of motivation again, and I started outlining and brainstorming a new story again.
Unfortunately, life wanted to have another laugh at me, and the next month I ended up catching mono. For the next four months I couldn’t do much more than sleep on the couch when I wasn’t at work.
But now I’m back on my feet again, and ready to start writing again. Hopefully I’ll produce a finished manuscript this time around, edited and polished and beta-read by some willing critique partners, and hopefully, finally queried out to agents. It’s unlikely to go anywhere even if it gets that far. The odds are against me just as they are for every new writer, but that is no reason to give up on my life goal.
Whenever I feel like quitting or procrastinating for another week, day, or hour, I just remind myself of that brief conversation I had with Jake and everything that was left unsaid…
Why am I not a writer?… Because I haven’t worked for it yet.
There’s no excuse good enough anymore. If I want to accomplish my goal, I have to stop the excuses and stop the procrastinating. It’s time to work.
The same goes for everyone else who has a goal. You’ll get nowhere if you don’t start somewhere. Getting started may be the most difficult thing you’ll ever do, but only you can do it.
So the next time you think about that goal, ask yourself why it’s not a reality yet and then start working toward making it real. And maybe we can help keep each other accountable to those goals along the way.