Why can’t I be more of a quitter? There are days I really want to desert this road to publication. Thetemptation to bail hits me hard. I convince myself I’m not cut out for the life of a writer.
Things get particularly daunting when I have to make the difficult decision to move on from an agent, or a close friend receives a drool-worthy offer, or I read my stuff and seriously consider shredding it and feeding it to the dog.
Eventually, a powerful message rises to the surface and riptides my thoughts.
You aren’t a soccer player but you are a writer.
Now, if you’ve visited my blog much, you know I’m far from a mathematician and you might be scratching your head trying to work out the logic behind what I just wrote. There isn’t an A + B = X (or whatever) equation that makes sense of the soccer player/writer sentence. There’s just life.
Let me explain.
I played travel soccer for my entire childhood. I was a teenager when I made the spontaneous decision to quit playing. I loved soccer. I still love the sport and have a blast cheering on my kids when they play. I can honestly say quitting soccer is one of the few regrets I have in life—regret squared because I quit for the wrong reasons.
I took my eyes off of the most important thing—my experience with the sport. I stopped playing because my older sister was better. I’m not making this up. She really was. She was All-American, met Pele, got a full ride scholarship for her skills, and eventually went on to play against Mia Hamm in college. She was a soccer rock star. I was solid. And I should have stuck with it. For the love of the sport. Sometimes I wonder what would have been. . .
Fast forward several decades and you have me, a writer, fiercely dedicated to my craft, though still facing that familiar temptation to bow out. It’s so easy to get sidetracked, believing others are better, garnering more attention, that they have something I don’t. They do have something I don’t. And I have something they don’t. The stories inside me. In the way that only I can tell them.
Right at the moment when I feel like the biggest writer schmuck on the planet, I tend to find some humor-filled way to immerse myself in my current project. I coach myself in Star Wars talk, “Stay on target” or I Church Lady-myself until I get in my word count, remembering all of the positive affirmations that I’ve encountered along this Yellow Brick Road (paved with flying monkey poop…it’s funny to me. Writers have a bit of an absurd and well-timed ability to entertain ourselves. We’re alone a lot…it’s part of the gig).
And when the humor wears off and the word count is complete and I’m left with my Tilt-A-Whirl brain, I’m met with a choice. Day in. And day out. Ride the self-doubts? Or hop off so I can get busy doing what I love?
I decide. Every day I decide.
I’m not a soccer player. But I am a writer.
*Pic is of me in my glory soccer days. P.S. It was the 80s. That’s how everyone wore their shorts! ;-)