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Living Wide Awake As An Author

I've lived my entire life asleep, I think. Moving through moments in a fog of waking. I think I did this as a child, too. Never quite grasping a moment because I was too preoccupied.

So what am I doing?

I used to attribute this lack of earthly focus to a creative mind. I've been writing stories since I was 12, and play acting since well before then. But is that it? Have I simply been lost in a world of make believe?

Can I only see that now because I'm waking up?

In my twenties I was constantly writing. Before getting a computer (yes, those days existed), I was either writing down my stories on paper or typing them, first on an electric typewriter loaned to me and, finally, on my mother-in-law's word processor. I wrote the first draft of my debut novel two lines at a time because that's all you could see on that tiny little screen. My mind was filled with stories and my hands were eager to share them. Although I was totally green, and my stories were diamonds in the rough, I wrote.

Then came the computer and I was in heaven. An entire screen to view my work! At the time my husband and I were living in 3 rooms with our children. He and I slept in the living room while they got the bedroom. In those days I stayed up all hours of the night pounding the keyboard with my words. Poor hubby used to have to plug his ears to block out the sounds of my frantic storytelling. Now he's merely blocking out the sounds of my snoring.

Granted, we no longer live in 3 rooms. But even if we did, the keyboard is scarcely on fire these days. The story ideas aren't drying up, but the drive to bring them to life certainly is.

Or seems to be.

So I wonder if I am waking from my dreaming state. Am I giving up on the one thing I have wanted for most of my life?

I've been thinking about this for some time. Wondering if I am finally disenchanted by the exhaustive climb to the top, the summit where I am finally published and recognized. When I began my quest I wanted to become a bestselling novelist. It didn't take long before I realized the lives of novelists portrayed by Hollywood and the lives of real life novelists are vastly different. Still, I had hopes of procuring an agent and making my mark. This year I changed that goal slightly. What is wrong with being published by a small house? Nothing. Nothing at all. At least then maybe someone outside of my circle of friends would read my work. Or a handful of someones.

So why can't I get it together? Why do I still lack the drive to sit down and get my WIP done. Or at least get to chapter 6!

I may try to get back to some basic storytelling. I've read many an interview where writers (established ones) say to the novice, "Write something every day. Even if it's shitty, just write." I abandoned Prompting365 some time ago. I guess I got discouraged. Always playing for an empty room. Maybe that's what writing is about for the most part, performing for no one but yourself. I could consider picking it back up again. One writer, one prompt, 365 days. But even that seems daunting.

So if I am awake, does that mean I can no longer dream? Will the characters in my head eventually desert me for someone with more talent? More drive.

Am I the only writer incapable of actually writing? When do we become people who talk about writing as opposed to just being writers?

Is it possible to be a writer and be wide awake? I don't know the answer. But I'll let you know if I figure it out.


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