A few weeks back, I caught an interview on NPR with former Olympians. I'd never really thought about it before, but for many athletes, adjusting to life after the Olympics is incredibly difficult. Many of them have finished their careers by their thirties, or even twenties. They've pursued their lives' passion, and reached the highest plateau possible. So what else is left for them?
I was reminded of those Olympians recently. I had been dreaming of announcing some good news on the blog, but last week learned that things hadn't worked out. It's not the first time I've come so close to success in the publishing industry that I could almost touch it. And in struggling with my disappointment, I wondered what you do with your life when the one thing you're passionate about is currently impossible.
Some writer friends commiserated with me, and reminded me not to give up. But I couldn't really imagine giving up. While I've started subbing in schools again, writing is my full time job. And I love it.
Of course, I could self publish, or submit to several small ebook publishers who have sprung up recently. I thought over those options, too, but realized they're not my dream. Others have found happiness on those routes (some few even success), but as someone who's fantasized about writing and publishing since childhood, and still sees the world of books as magical, warts and all, I believe in the industry and want to be part of it.
Obviously, the only option left to me is to keep writing. And maybe that makes me lucky... those former Olympians have lost their muscle and flexibility and endurance, and will never be successful in their sport again--though a gold metal might smooth over a lot of angst!
I make "keep writing" sound like an easy answer, when it isn't really. It means more years of not knowing how to tell people what I do for a living. It means more self-doubt, more frustration, many more hours of work with no pay or affirmation. But it also means I can keep telling stories. And, for now at least, I wouldn't have it any other way.