I used to think that with a little practice I could become a great writer. The key word in the last sentence? Little. What I've come to realize is that with 'a lot' of practice, I hope to become a good writer - even a great one.
All of this takes time. It may even take into my 90s before I feel as if I've reached the pinnacle of my writing career. But until then, I'm preparing myself for the future. I am spending time at writing, at editing, at reading great writing books, at visiting with other writers and getting new ideas on how to write and market.
Bottom line is that I'm preparing for the future and trying to enjoy the present every step of the way.
But some days, I admit, the journey gets rocky, and the path gets windy, and before long, I'm hating my current life in favor of the life I 'could' have.
Living in 'could have's' and 'should have's' has never gotten me anywhere, in fact, when I think this way I not only stop in my writing progress, I retreat. I move backwards.
Because a person is constantly in motion, whether that motion is physical or emotional or spiritual, at any given moment they are moving forward or backward. There is no fence sitting here, no stagnant way of being that doesn't move you. You will move. It will be forward or backward but you will move.
I don't think it's unhealthy to dream about where you'd like to be in 5 or 10 years, but I think it's unhealthy not to live in the present because you're so caught up in your future.
So what are you doing today to prepare for the future you want tomorrow? Are you having fun writing short-stories or novels, not yet published, but written?
Are you taking the suggestions, the criticisms of others when it comes to your writing? Or are you in hiding, not showing your work to anyone until it gets - good?
As in all things worth having, a writing career takes time and effort and tears and lots of mistakes and getting up and trying again. Very few of us can say we're an overnight success, and those you believe 'are' have just stumbled upon something dreamy, making us believe that they didn't have to do much (if anything) to be successful.
Kind of like seeing your friends at church all dressed up, with no idea how the rest of their week has gone.
I have to smile when I tell people it took me eight years before my first short piece was published. That even after that, I wasn't raking in the millions, not even the dimes. I have to smile, because, after all, it took a great deal of work and effort to get where I'm at, and it will take a great deal more to get to where I'm going.