Monday, July 2, 2012

The Ocean

The ocean is big.  Ever-changing and yet so constant; there it is.  We always know exactly where to find it when we go looking, don't we?  The tide goes in and out, but the shore is always there, the great jumping off point.  Waiting for us.

Each and every one of us has an ocean, I think, but I'm not talking about water.  For each of us there is that something, huge and immense, yet tangible and real, that we think about every day, whether we're standing there in front of it or not.  Something we've been working toward for as long as we can remember.  Wanting, wishing, dreaming.  That thing.  Secret in the depths of our hope and huge.

This, so often, is how I feel about writing my book.  The goal that has always been there--always--and yet it looms there, right in front of my face--looking, at times, impossibly vast.  There are so many "what if?"s that it sometimes drives me to doubt and worry.  Of course I worry about not getting published, about none of it working out after all my hard work.  It's hard to look at the ocean, even in all its beauty and opportunity, and not have a real sense of the damage it can do.  The possibility there is for failure.

But the more I plug away at things, little by little, day by day, I find myself looking at that limitless horizon without quite as much fear in my heart as there was before I ever started to try at all.  Yes, there's a line drawn on the horizon and I can't see what's beyond it from where I am right now.  But that doesn't mean I shouldn't take the next step.  At some point you've got to get your feet wet.  At some point you've got to look yourself in the face and say, "This is real.  I am doing this."  And even if I go down trying, I'll still be proud of myself, just for trying at all.

The more I buck up and confess out loud that I'm working on a book, the more serious conversations I have with people about it.  And the thing that several people have said to me lately is this:

So many people think about writing a book, but hardly anyone actually does it.  It's huge that you're doing it.

While I don't think that those encouraging, empowering words guarantee me a publishing deal, I do think they're true.  So many people dream about doing things, big things, even.  But so many of us talk ourselves out of our dreams.  To you, my fellow dreamers, I say this: your dreams don't have to be impossible.  It doesn't have to be this or that.  Family or work.  Femininity or fierce effort.  Some dreams are big and some are small.  But all good dreams are possible.  And you wouldn't be you without those dreams.  I know I wouldn't be me without mine.

There is an ocean before me and every day I find myself wondering whether I'm still standing on the shore or wading in, little by little, going forward, despite the unpredictability of the waters ahead.  Sometimes it feels like my feet are firmly planted at the Beginning and other times I feel myself treading wader, or plunging on ahead.  But I'm not sure that my exact point from one day to the next matters as much as this: I am loving every minute of it.

Being away from this quiet, constant work of writing my book for the past three weeks has made me realize especially how much I've missed writing and sewing and "working on my book."  I'm so happy to be back where I can get busy again.

What about you?  And your ocean?


Kathy Haynie said...

I think what I like best about this post is when you say this:
"Being away from this quiet, constant work of writing my book for the past three weeks has made me realize especially how much I've missed writing and sewing and 'working on my book.'"

There is something so satisfying about that...I can imagine you purposeful, happy, doing your work. Good for you!

And by the way...speaking of writing and big goals and things that seem difficult and hard and distant...I finished the almost-final draft of my thesis today!!! Yippee!!!

lindzandrob said...

I can't wait for your book to be done! I will definitely buy one as soon as it is done!