Thursday, January 31, 2013

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. 

"There isn't one perfect moment to start writing."


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.

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.

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


Marylane Wade Koch said...

Love it, Hope. This is so encouraging and convicting. Gotta get back to my writing.

Marylane from Mississippi

quietspirit said...

I have had sort of a 'down' time. Thank you for telling me I can still
write. Blessings upon you.

Hope Clark said...

Yes, we can all write. It's never too early, never too late, never a bad time. That's part of what I love about being a writer.

Karen said...

We all tend to think we're "too old" or too fat or too set in our ways to start something new.

That's never true, but we seldom realize that today is the first day of the rest of our lives so don't waste it.

Thanks for inspiring me!

Audrey said...

Thanks for sharing this Hope. I fervently believe that our pasts make us who we are today. I needed everything that happened "along the way" to happen in my life to make me the person I am today. My writing comes from this journey... and it is uniquely my journey and my story! Our journeys can't be rushed or skipped over. They make us who we are today.

Unknown said...

Beautiful post. Writing has been a journey for me throughout my life. When I was young with small babies, I was given an opportunity to go to New York to work with a publisher but of course, the timing was not right in my life. Discouraged, I put my pen down for many years. Missed opportunities are just part of the journey, and give us the emotional roots to dig deeper and create something more substantial and meaningful in the scope of our lives.

Hope Clark said...

Our journeys define us, and all of what we have and have missed, pour into what we do today.

Anonymous said...

No matter where we go or what we become in life, we can always keep writing, even if it's just a hobby. Thanks for the inspiration, Hope!

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Hope Clark said...

Thanks, Lynelle. Glad you liked that editorial.