Thursday, February 9, 2012

It’s Time To Kiss The Baby



A year ago, I was an active writer, deep in the dream of publication. I wrote every day, blogged, belonged to two different critique groups, and pursued my dream head on.

However, a bump in the road steered me in a different direction—a different state—and I started working full time. Full time work meant part time writing, and when part time writing seemed too much I stopped all together. Meanwhile, the lives of my writing circle changed. They moved closer to their goals of publication and soon, one buddy published with an e-publisher, and another decided to go the self-pub route and a couple months ago another signed with a publisher and is getting ready to release her debut. Yet I remained just as I was—stagnant and far away from my group in both distance and direction.

As much as I wanted to be supportive, I struggled to keep up the mask of excitement. I was excited for them, but I was the one who had brought us together and soon, I was the one standing in the crowd watching. I had lost my desire.

I was resentful that I wasn’t strong enough to balance it all and bitter that I allowed myself to slow down, to let my dream fade as if it meant nothing at all.

I was thinking about this recently as I tried to pull myself out of my funk and give my writing peeps some of the support I wasn’t previously able to give. I remembered when I had graduated college and started my big girl job.

I met a couple friends who were born to be mommies and desperately wanted children. They couldn’t get enough of the drooling, boogery things, but unfortunately, no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t have children. Despite their hang-ups, life carried on for those around them. Soon, a mutual friend had a child, then another and another. One year turned into ten. Yet, through years and trial after trial, these women weren’t able to live their dream. Failed adoptions and broken hearts kept them at a distance. Relationships faltered.

I couldn’t imagine what it was like to want something so bad and have to face that loss every day. To greet friends with smiles, knowing that she has the one thing you could never have. Baby showers full of women, forced laughter, and envious stares, then a hug goodbye and a silent car ride to an empty nest.

I remember watching one of these ladies as she scooped up a child into her arms and lulled it to sleep. The look in her eyes as she stared at that baby was heartbreaking. All the people in the room hushed because this woman, in particular, had suffered through three miscarriages.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help but ask her later how she was able to cope and she simply said, “Sometimes you just have to kiss the baby.”

So as I figure my way back to my dream, I just wanted to tell my friends—new and old—how exciting it is to see them pursue theirs. This is a rough business and not one for everyone. We face scrutiny, jealousy, frustration, and a loss of faith in ourselves. But it doesn’t have to be that way if we take a minute to remember why we do what we do, why it matters. 

How do you handle life and writing? Have you ever wanted to give up?  

22 comments:

Rosemary Gemmell said...

A heart-felt post, Diana, and I do hope you find your complete way back to your dreams. I have many great quotes but this one seems just right for today: "We have the power to shrink our dreams to fit reality, or the power to stretch our reality to fit our dreams." (Anon.)

Karen Pokras Toz said...

Thank you for the great post. It can be beyond hard to try to balance it all and when things don't go exactly as planned that makes it even harder. I think we've all had situations where we have to "kiss the baby" ... good luck finding your way back.
Love that quote Rosemary - I'm going to borrow it :)

Andrew said...

Diana, I completely get this. I'm finding it hard to balance life, children, work, and writing. It is a challenge and I don't always get it right. Last night I made the decision to just start writing everyday. It was 9:30. I only got a 100 words written on a big story plus a short poem for a class I'm taking. Not much considering the people in my group, but they are further along the path than I am. I hope to get to the same place they are, but even if I don't, I am still doing it. Good luck and I hope you keep writing.

P.S. Loved this blog entry. Very beautifully written. @kthanna retweeted this and I'm glad I checked it out.

Misty Waters said...

Loved this. I'm currently watching one of my cp's go through tons of full requests while I've only ever had ONE. It's hard to be supportive when it feels like you've done nothing but fail. But you just have to keep forging uphill! I keep telling myself that it WILL be me one day, and only when it's the right time.

Vicki Tremper said...

Thank you for your bravery and heart. I have never truly considered giving up, I just can't imagine not doing this every day. But it is hard to watch everyone else succeed while I still struggle. Then I think, what else can I do but keep going, keep writing? Even with school demands for my own mildly disobedient children always increasing, and my own need to contribute to the family finances. I have no choice. I have to write.

Patrick Ross said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It speaks to me, as someone who is looking to return to FT work and calculating how I'll balance that with writing. It also touches me because a writer friend recently hit a wall. She didn't give up, but was too burned out to even attend our monthly writer's group. I blogged about her plight earlier this week, and she's been on my mind since.

Enjoy your path back to your dream!

Diana said...

Fantastic quote. Thanks.

Diana said...

Definitely hard to balance as a mom. Thanks for stopping by.

Diana said...

Good luck to you too. Have to find time and keep at it.

Diana said...

Don't be discouraged, our paths are always different. Keep forging uphill just like you say. You will get there.

Diana said...

Good for you for being so determined and steadfast in your purpose. My BFF and writing partner is this exact same way and I love that she is behind me pushing me to the same.

Diana said...

Thanks for coming by. People write and work all the time, I'm still struggling how to make it work without making my family crazy. We'll see. Best of luck to you with your work.

S.P. Bowers said...

As a woman who wanted and couldn't have babies this was a powerful post. Sometimes all you can do is hang on until the storm is over. Then you pick yourself up, see if your dream is still the same and do whatever you need to survive.

There have been times in my life when life was too big and overwhelming to pursue writing like I am now. But the dream was always there in the back. One day I realized life was good and I could do it. At that point it was right for me. Good luck finding what and when is right for you.

Diana said...

Very lovely. Thank you so much for your comment and your strength.

Honey said...

I've dreamed of writing ever since I was a child, but one thing after another happened, and now I'll be turning 40 and I'm finally doing what I've always wanted to do. Life gets in the way, but that's okay to be a late bloomer!

Diana said...

Good for you Honey! I'm almost 40 too. I was hoping to stop at 38, but...

Susan Kane said...

That was a moving post. You expressed beautifully the longing for something that seems forever distant. Writing means never having to stop writing.

Margo Kelly said...

First of all ... you can still give "birth to your baby" ... there are no age limits or fertility clocks ticking on your dream!

Second, yes, I've thought of quitting, and that's when my writing suffered the most.

Decide to be a writer, regardless of the pace you're able to keep.

And, who knows ... maybe your DREAM agent and your DREAM editor haven't taken that job or mastered it yet enough to be there for you NOW. But, when YOU are ready, they will be ready for you.

Great post!!

J.L. Campbell said...

Diana, thanks for sharing this. So many times I've been tempted not to follow through on this or that project, but I just knew (don't ask me how) I would be published and I never stopped trying until it happened.

We do go down side roads and take care of other stuff but the dream is still there. It may take a while longer to get to your 'the end', but it'll be more than worth it.

Diana said...

Very true. :)

Diana said...

Well said. Thanks.

Diana said...

I love the last line of what you said. Great.