This Writer’s Road

One of the pleasures of growing older as a writer is finally being able to make sense of why I do it at all. Finally I see the pattern and the meaning, although the pattern resembles one of those roundabouts they keep designing for intersections and the meaning is less shiny than I’d imagined.

I once believed a great destiny awaited me as a writer: wealth and fame, or at least a reason to quit my day job. I thought my work would, like a Jane Austen novel, make people laugh and think about stuff and admit that domestic life and romance are utterly fascinating.

That didn’t happen.

It doesn’t happen to the majority of writers, but even after I learned this hard lesson I persisted well past the point of reason with a firm belief that eventually I would publish my books. Maybe not to great acclaim. Maybe not to the tune of a living wage. But still, I could publish a book. It happens all the time, to many, many writers. Why not me?

Eventually, I did publish a book. Not the book I thought I’d publish. Not in the genre I adored, not in any of the ways I’d imagined it would happen. But it did happen—and for one reason alone. Me. I did it. I made my writing dreams come true by sheer force of will and determination. Oh, and hard work.

So my pattern has been to keep going even when it seemed like I’d never stop circling the same old roundabout and the meaning is that if I pay attention to when I should yield and when I should move through, I always see something new.

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