When it all comes down to it (such a a cliche), what do you have? You have yourself. No one can make you happy. No one can make you write more. No one can shower you with enough praise to get you through the day. No, in the end you only have yourself to rely on.
I suppose we all learn this at one point or another. I have come to the conclusion lately that at this stage of my life (mid-forties, divorced, two teenaged daughters, puppy…the real gold standard of eligibility) I need to become more selfish. Weird, right? I suppose many will guffaw at this. A man who needs to be more selfish? Really?
And those guffawers would be right in lots of cases, just not this one. I’m not selfish, and it kind of has been a detriment to me. You see, I believe in building things collaboratively…together. I’m good in a committee. Personally, I like to share experiences. I’ve never believed in compartmentalizing things. I just let it all become part of my life, which I willingly shared. One big soupy mess.
Others, by the way, don’t do this. Newsflash for me. But, then again, I’m a slow learner.
And I should learn from them. No great novelist created a master work by opting to leave his desk early to be with his family. No short story writer sacrifices her moments of solitude in favor of a bike ride with her husband. No, they diligently plug on. They work. The togetherness crap must be for the weak or the non-driven, things I guess I’ve been.
Excuse? Maybe. I sure as heck haven’t been writing as much these last few years as I should have been. Maybe I was just too concerned about sharing my life. So in the end the lesson is this: focus on yourself and your family and your writing, for the work matters above all else. If you want to be the best.
Hard one for me to swallow, but, then again, I haven’t seen much cheering for the opposite side. Maybe it will be easier, after all, to just lose myself in my work. Everybody’s doing it.