Monday, September 10, 2012

What Might Have Been

As I read reviews and book releases of younger authors, it pains me just a little bit to see them finding their stride so early in life. I had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had whimsical dreams of being a veterinarian because I loved dogs. Then I wanted to save wildlife and travel the globe tackling environmental abuse. I thought about being an astronaut for years, way before women did such a thing. See . . . my parents taught me I could be whatever I wanted. The trouble was, I had too many options, and I couldn't make up my mind.

We cannot dictate that the planets be aligned in order to write.

Of course I wrote from a young age, like most writers whose brains tapped them on the shoulder incessantly that this might be a path to follow. But I wanted to do what people would respect me for the most. Having talent in math and science, I majored in the sciences. I was offered fellowships in journalism and agricultural economics, and I declined, afraid they weren't right for me. I laugh at that because I eventually worked in
agricultural economics with the federal government and then wrote for a living.

There isn't one perfect moment to start writing. If I had launched initially as a writer, I would never have created Lowcountry Bribe, which evolved from a dark moment in my government career when I was offered a bribe.

We cannot dictate that the planets be aligned in order to write. You do not postpone writing because the kids are small or the spouse is ill. While both are oh so important, you have time in your days to write. You may have another job and volunteer on the side, but you can find moments each day to write.

As long as you are breathing, you are still on your journey. 

Thinking back, I find that my journey led back to writing numerous times. I was too busy designing my life, thinking I had to find a right and proper life.

Don't worry about what might have been or what you neglected to take advantage of. As long as you are breathing, you are still on your journey. You do not know which choice was right and which was wrong, or even if there is such a answer. Life is a test . . . a personal one. Only you can define whether it's dictated by money, by what others think of you, or by the stories you leave as a legacy. There are no right answers.
And we can't let ourselves be deceived that we've exhausted our options.

We can write. At anytime, we can write. It will be hard, as anything worth having is. But it will be so delicious in the end as one day you look back and see that you alone made the choice to be a story teller.

If you are stalling, stop. Pick up your pen. Open a blank page on your screen. Fill up the space with words.

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."

- George Eliot -


Sioux Roslawski said...

Wonderful post, Hope. I especially love the quote by George Eliot at the end.

And the advice you gave could be applied to anything we dream of doing. As Nike proclaims, "Just do it," and don't worry about what hindsight you might be able to utilize in the future...

Anthony J. Langford said...

Good post.

My problem was that I knew what I wanted from an early age, but grew up working class in the country and had no idea how to get it. Fumbling attempts at contacting publishers as a teenager only meant one outcome.
So stumbled and fumbled for another twenty odd years.

As you say, never too late.
I will have to try and track down your book here in Australia, or maybe its an Amazon job. Christmas coming up.