I am afraid to write.
Although I’ve sent out a few things here and there, which have been, for the most part, rejected, I know in my heart that I am not giving this writing thing my 100%.
There are lot of fear factors here:
1) Good ol’ self-doubt: I don’t think I’m a good enough writer. I’ve no training, no education, no proper writing experience. Although, I did find a pretty riveting story involving a leaf that I had apparently written in second grade in my closet the other day…Perhaps I used to have some skill. Overall though, just opening a magazine or browsing my web sites leaves me deflated–there are so many professional writers out there. How could I possibly join them?
2) Finances: Ben just lost his job. Again. For the third year in a row. I’m not even disappointed anymore, it’s become such a normal thing. Apparently they may have a spot for him if they work some things around, blah blah blah, but I’m not holding my breath. Unlike my other work-from-home job, there is no guaranteed income with this writing thing. I could write all day with no cold hard cash to show for it.
3) The nursing thing: I hate working as a nurse. I’ll admit it. Maybe that makes me a horrible person, but it’s true. I really am at a loss as to how I became a nurse. In high school the one thing I swore I would never be was a nurse. *Shudder* So, the best I can figure is that of my siblings, I was the “book-smart one.” In a family, of course, we all have our labels, and that was mine–I’ve always been a good student. So I felt I needed to carry on that role to its highest proper position–and become a doctor. I was obsessed with babies growing up and focused my ambitions on becoming a pediatrician (In hindsight, I think my obsession with babies may have been more the fact that as the oldest cousin, I was always watching babies for our big family. Hmmm…). Then, somewhere along the line, I realized that I didn’t want to go to school for twelve years and that I wanted to have my own babies. So I decided I would become a midwife. Only, to be a midwife you have to become–you guessed it–a nurse. One pregnant senior year and giving birth one week after I graduated college later, I found myself finishing nursing school because I knew I would need the money. I started my first job as a nurse six weeks after Ada was born. Ben was still in school, so for over a year, I supported us financially and provided health insurance.
Three years later, I am still working as a nurse and I can’t see a way out. The truth is, it’s good money. Yes, it’s awful work (yesterday I was vomited on and had to, yet again, manually remove poop from someone’s butt hole), but it’s hard to imagine ever letting go of that kind of money and the flexibility I have. I make my own schedule and when I did some extra cash, all I have to do is pick up the phone and pick up a few shifts. I have to work a lot of weekends, but sometimes that’s a relief as far as finding a babysitter goes.
The other part of nursing that is hard to let go is the fact that it’s a job that I can almost do in my sleep. Unlike working from home, I don’t have to exert ten thousand different mental energies into my job. Entertaining kids while running laundry while starting dinner while answering the phone while answering emails. As a a nurse, I clock in, do my job, and clock out. There’s a great relief in having a job like that when you’re a mom. To not have to bring the work home with you and to be able to leave your kids to get some work done. When I have left the house (twice) to write, I was ridden with guilt because I brought no income home to show for it. In fact, I spent money on a blueberry scone. Gulp.
4) Working from home: After four years of working from home, I’ve finally discovered, that quite honestly, I am bad at it. It’s hard to be motivated at home. I like a little variety, to get out of my house once in a while. And confession time, but I’ve discovered that I work best away from my kids. It’s awful to admit that, perhaps, but it’s the truth it. And I just don’t see how I could manage a full-time freelance writing gig away from my munchkins. I couldn’t. Right now, we manage with the job I currently work from home, and I still struggle with the mental energy required, even when Ben helps me. I hate the feeling of having to beg for time to do my job. When do men ever have to deal with that? Feeling guilty for working–what is that?!
5) Fickleness: I’m a fickle person. I’ve had more jobs than I can count–babysitter, lifeguard, coffee barista, tutor, tour guide, server, teacher, nurse, non-profit employee, writer–and I’ve never been satisfied with a single one. I’m afraid that writing will be no different. I’m someone who is always thinking of the next step, always planning for my future. Which I dislike about myself, because I’m obviously missing out on the present by worrying about the future. So the question is, will I be able to be content with writing (assuming of course, I can make a successful go of it), or will I still be looking for the next thing? The thing about writing though, that gives me some hop in this regard, is that there is always a next thing–no story or assignment will be the same, so it may just suit my constant need for change. My teacher in one of the writing classes I took talked about how she had never been content with a job either. She thought it was her, until she took up freelance writing, and discovered it wasn’t her, it was the other jobs. Maybe I can be the same success story, inspiring blog posts from sleep-deprived moms-turned-wannabe-writers.
Forgive me this journal style entry, but this has helped me to think everything through. I know that something needs to go if I really want to give this writing thing a shot. I talked it over with Ben over breakfast this morning, and he has assured me that if I can make up the difference in lost income by picking up more shifts at the hospital (ew), then we can make it work and he will still *allow* me that time to write.
Now, for doing it.
Part of me is afraid I will end up like that lady on the Bachelor, who quit her job to go on the show and was eliminated the first night.
“No regrets!” she claimed with a toss of her blond hair. “This is the only life I get, and I am not going to waste it!”
I have the sneaking suspicion she is right. Or in my case, write.