It’s very interesting how a belief, whether true or false, can determine the path we take in life.
While I was in secondary school, I remember studying books by D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce and E.M. Forster. In reading their bios I found their lives to be so very depressing that I developed this unshakeable belief that writers were generally unhappy people – and at that time my focus in life was to be happy.
I didn’t even know this belief had become ingrained in my subconscious until much later, when I found myself writing in my very first journal, on the very first line: “I want to be a writer.”
“NO WAY! NEVER!” That’s what every single cell in my body screamed at me.
I didn’t question my reaction in any depth. It felt natural. Also, I didn’t believe I had anything to say. My mind was blank of any story ideas and I didn’t pursue it until much later, after university, when I was working in Manhattan and I got this deep, restless desire to write.
At first I ignored the feelings. My subconscious – and erroneous – belief about all writers propelled me away from what I was only then beginning to realize was my dream to create stories.
The thing is that the more I suppressed this desire the more restless and intolerant I got.
In sum, I became increasingly unhappy, the very thing I was striving to avoid.
So one day I decided to sit myself down in front of a blank computer screen.
For me, the best time to write was before I went to work. So at 5 o’clock every morning, Mondays to Fridays I would get up and write for two hours. The days I missed left me feeling empty and restless. And the days I wrote, I felt energized and excited to be advancing in the direction of my dream.
- In 2013 my very first middle grade novel UP IN THE AIR was published by Jolly Fish Press.
- I recently finished the sequel.
- In April 2016 I signed with a literary agent.
- And I have another manuscript waiting to show her as well as many story ideas to fill a book.
Who knows what my horizon now holds?
I’m glad I challenged this deep-seated belief of mine.
It’s not that my life is a bubble of continuous joy. I have periods of depression and frustration, even flashes of having failed to live up to my own expectations – which I think most people experience at some point or another.
But I’m doing what I love, and that grounds me and gives me purpose as well as a sense of direction on those occasions when things don’t go the way I envisaged.
So whenever I catch myself saying anything remotely resembling “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t”, I stop and take a deeper look at what’s behind these fears before choosing the path I really want to take.
Not that I succeed all the time. After all, life is a work in progress.