Thoughts on 30: Goals for writing, goals for life
I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to tell stories. But I can tell you when I started taking telling stories seriously (well, not entirely seriously… thankfully). I was 25, had just had a baby, and went through the ringer with postpartum depression. On the other side of that, a truth glimmered. I don’t mean to be hokey or corny, but in the space of a few weeks it became abundantly clear that writing, being a writer, required my attention. It was one of those things that made me, and something I’d been ignoring a long time in favor of more acceptable aspirations.
I’ve talked about this before, of course. But as I’m approaching my 30th birthday, I think of another goal I made myself at the time: get published before 30. Not short story published, novel published. At the time I had 3/4 of one book, and a few chapters of another. (Now I’ve got considerably more than that, which is good to know.)
Honestly, such a goal was silly. Maybe. On the surface it has no meaning. Time is irrelevant. Quality is important. These days, I’m okay with writing one book in a year. Or one book in two years, now. Writing books isn’t something I need to prove to myself I can do. But at that point, five years ago, I needed to finish. I needed to cross that line. And a silly self-imposed deadline definitely helped.
Granted, Pilgrim of the Sky will release sometime around my 30 1/2 birthday, but I count it as a win for my goal. At least, I consider that the fuel that fed the flames were set when I decided I needed to write for myself, and I needed to make writing Plan A (and set the timer on the whole “by the time I’m 30” thing). So, it hasn’t turned out exactly how I thought. Life has a funny way leading you through its own back alleys while you’ve got your eyes on the sky.
But still: goal accomplished. So what does that mean for me now? Time for a new goal? Or time to meander down those dark alleys conscious of what makes me, what’s important, and which stories need to be told? I’m not sure.
I’m not where I want to be at the moment, writing wise. Distractions are high, time is sparse. That sense of determination, that drive I had when I was younger and sincerely unpublished has dimmed. But maybe that’s okay. Maybe one can find peace and inspiration in the flow, rather than in raging against it. Maybe it means going slower, planning more, and being more precise. I’m not sure.
What I am sure of, though, is what I want out of this book. I’d never have guessed that Pilgrim would be the first to publication, but here it is in all its strange complexity, all its layers and symbols and filigree. I want readers to follow me on the journey within the book, escaping not only from this world, but into the many worlds in the book. I want to share this story more than I ever have before. And there’s no time limit on that!