Forgive the picture – I just couldn’t resist. After all, it’s Halloween, and instead of going around in a crazy costume, I’m sitting here at my kitchen table thinking big thoughts. Figured I’d drag a picture out of the old photo archives just to set the mood.
Strange picture aside, there are important things to report here in Kinetic Beans land. Most important of all is the fact that I’ve set a goal for my writing, namely, that within five years I’d like to be self-sufficient and living on my writing alone. Not that far in terms of a lifetime, but plenty of time for me to take real, concrete action. I would like to say that I could be self-sufficient in half that time, perhaps even in a year or two. And it’s absolutely possible. I do, however, want to maintain a sense of reality. It will take time to build a portfolio, time to network and build ties in the literary community, and time to grow in my own right as a writer. It will happen word by word. Every minute, every thought that I put into my writing will help lead me down the path that I’ve envisioned.
We all have to eat. Me especially, because I get really cranky when I don’t constantly have something to munch on. What I really mean to say is that ever since I was young, I have wanted to be a writer. Or a better way to put it is that I’ve been writing since I was able to barely scribble. But when I reached high school, my well-intentioned grandparents, who I held in very high esteem, pulled me aside one day and gave me a lecture on the facts of life. Namely, the fact that writers are poor. And starving. And live in attics. And they made it clear, that while it was sweet that I wanted to write, that I really needed to have a bigger plan, some way to build a successful career for myself so that I could eat, dress nicely, and buy lots of shiny new things for myself and my imaginary future children.
To their credit, my parents never said this to me – well, at least not in these exact words. Instead, my parents almost single-mindedly pursued the great American Dream: free enterprise. Or should I say, Amway. I grew up in a household where the word “job” was considered a bad word. Instead, I was taught, I should try to build a lucrative Amway business that would entirely eliminate the need for a regular day job and then spend the rest of my life doing whatever the heck I wanted to be. Either way you spun it, the message coming at me was clear: writing can wait until later, the important thing is to make lots of money. After you’ve done that, go ahead and write to your heart’s content. Unfortunately, I absorbed the message, or at least the part of it that said, “hold off on your writing until later – it can afford to wait.” As a result, I’ve lost precious years of writing, which I’ll never reclaim.
Today, my mother is fully supportive of my writing, and even supports the idea of me eventually leaving my stable, secure job and venturing out on my own written path. I share this story, however, to help explain why my dream for self-sufficiency in writing is so important. With all due respect to the people that raised me, their advice was wrong. My writing cannot and should not wait. And it no longer has to. I have a long way to go in this journey, but in announcing this goal to the universe, I’m hoping to set in motion a course of action that will radically alter the direction of my life.