I want to be a writer who doesn’t need permission to tell my truth.
I received at least part of my literary training in the school of hard knocks. I hadn’t traveled the path of life long before the dream of becoming a novelist took hold of me and wouldn’t shake loose. I had to chase that dream.
The years sped by, and I grew into adulthood having devoured everything I could get my hands on about my chosen avocation, my passion, (dare I say?) my calling. Destiny, and my audience, awaited.
After receiving my first rejection I didn’t write for a year. Obviously, I’d deluded myself into thinking I had anything important to say to anyone. I thought seriously about cleaning houses for a living, but eventually picked up the pieces and tried again. This time I received a contract for a short story.
I didn’t write for another year. What would happen when I became famous? Would people want more from me than I could give? Would they idolize me and then discover I had feet of clay? What had I gotten myself into anyway?
Gathering my fortitude, I entered the fray again. When another rejection came by return mail, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. I’d worried about fame, apparently without cause. My short story sale must have been a fluke.
I gave up writing altogether, not without relief. If I didn’t try, I couldn’t fail. But I couldn’t ignore an inner voice telling me that giving up already meant failure. Would I cede my dream without a fight?
For a time reality came down squarely on my neck in the form of motherhood and laundry and family expectations. What’s a few castles in the sky compared to my real-life abode in need of cleaning? This writing idea was all very well, but right now my family needed me. Amidst the din of daily living, the siren call of my muse dimmed.
I don’t mean to diminish the joys of a loving family, but when you don’t live to fulfill your purpose, you go through life with something hollow inside. I’ve learned that my family is not diminished, but rather enriched, by my pursuing my dream.
Rejection stings a little less these days because I’ve learned to stop letting the acceptance or rejection of others steer my course.
©2014 by Janalyn Voigt