Fleeting Doubts

Posted Mon, 01/10/11

Every so often, I experience fleeting doubts about the direction of my life. It's not from lack of personal relationships as my three marriages attest, but rather professional uncertainty. Writing fiction is not the easiest road to take, and breaking into the "business" is harder still.

Some days my doubts are self-inflicted, while others are prompted after reading articles such as Electronic Publishing. In the next instant, I might come across something about the merits of e-publishing from Wiki-How:

One misconception is that e-book publishers are not as stringent in their editing and selection requirements. In fact, the opposite is true. Given the initial skepticism and the necessity to establish themselves and gain respect in the industry, most e-Book publishers have extremely high standards and those authors accepted can expect extensive editing. In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to break into e-publishing, especially if you do not have a publishing history/track record.

It's also daunting to think about the millions of other people aspiring to be published authors. To stand apart from the rest while at the same time maintaining mass appeal can be difficult to say the least. One minute I can think: "What am I doing? I'll be fifty years old in eight months, and I'm still clinging to a lifelong dream." In the next breath, my determination returns with a vengeance: "I believe in myself even if no one else does. I'm driven to write for a reason. Even if it takes me to my last dying breath on earth, I'll keep trying." Having four publishing contracts in hand also helps, naturally. I'm proud of what I've accomplished, and offer no apologies for feeling that way.

Most days I'm able to bolster my confidence with firm resolve, which for the most part remains unbreakable. However, I'm alone in my endeavors, from start to finish. No one is there to wave away my qualms or assuage my fears. No one helps me think through a plot or decide the fate of a fictional character. No one is by my side late at night while I peck away at the keyboard or suffer momentary creative blocks. Writing is a notoriously lonely profession. Yet that's the nature of the beast, take it or leave it.

Because I refuse to let anyone sidetrack my efforts, even at the expense of marriages or long-term friendships, I don't have much of a cheering section. I very rarely hear words of encouragement from anyone, aside from my long-suffering mother. Once in a blue moon someone will tell me they're happy for me, but the remarks usually come from those who've never read one word I've ever written. Go figure.

My situation is of my own making, of course. I take full responsibility for my neglect of marriages and friendships, but there are also two sides to every coin. Perhaps the tangible resentment I feel from certain people is borne from my own actions. That being said, I don't feel responsible for the inability of others to be genuinely happy for someone to whom fate has decided to be kind after many years of hard work and perseverance.

My words are not a journey of self-pity, but rather acceptance of my life as it is with no apologies. Looking back, I don't think there is one thing I'd change even if I could. Despite the failure of my three marriages, each one contributed to the person I am today. I might not be the easiest of souls to relate to, but I don't harbor spite or wish ill fortune on others. I can honestly say I've never stood in the way or tried to manipulate the hopes and dreams of another person as it's been done to me over the years.

I might not like certain people or find their views on life distasteful, but I accept them for what they are and only ask the same in return.