I’ve been heads down on book 4 for the past eight weeks. It’s shorter than my other books, a different genre and category too, but still I’ve never finished the first draft of something this quickly. I still have some loose ends to tie up before I can abandon this draft for a while and work on the 4th draft of book 3 but I’m so close. My brain knows it and my body definitely knows it. I came into this weekend feeling drained and tired and numb. Not just because I’ve been writing like crazy but because of the reason why I’ve been writing like crazy.
I’m the kind of person who hates asking for help. I hate inconveniencing people and even more than that I hate feeling like I owe people. But recently some people in my life have stepped up and offered to help me financially so that I can try and turn this whole writing thing into an actual career. I haven’t made a decision yet on whether or not I’ll take them up on that offer. But even so that feeling of responsibility still weighs heavy on me. And honestly, it always has.
I don’t just work so hard for me. I do it for my family; for the people I care about. That’s why I write every day. Even when I’m tired. Even when I’d rather be doing something else. I’m trying to build up my backlist in hopes that one day one of my books will take off, that it will entice people to buy the others, that I’ll be able to make a comfortable living doing what I love so that I and the people I care about won’t have to struggle anymore. Because that’s what these last three years have been since my father passed away—an emotional, financial, spiritual struggle that I’m still battling on a daily basis.
But what if I could change all of that? If I just keep pushing, exhausting myself, worrying myself sick, what if all of that hard work pays off? I can sacrifice my sanity for a little while longer can’t I? These are the things that keep me up at night. Especially when I realize that I’ve lived in Florida for a year and a half and I haven’t really seen any of it. I’ve only been to the beach a handful of times. I haven’t done any of the normal touristy things people do here. I haven’t made any meaningful connections with anyone new. I’ve been sleeping here and going to work here and hiding in my apartment on the weekends writing, but I haven’t really lived here.
So I’ve felt stuck. Because what’s more important—my responsibility to my future or my responsibility to my present? The here and now vs. the what could be.
I went to the beach for the first time in almost a year this weekend and while I was just wading there, feet barely skimming the sand, I realized that the answer is both. It’s possible to suspend yourself in that illusory place between the present and the future without losing your mind. It’s possible to stay tethered to your goals even when you decide that you need a break. And I did. I needed a break. So I took one and even though I can feel that guilt just below the surface, I’m going to ignore it. I’m going to loosen my grip on the future and I’m going to let myself breathe.