I made a big decision this weekend. The holidays had thrown me into a funk that lasted for seven weeks and fortunately, at my age, I realized it would pass and didn’t fight it. I let it run its course. Now, with the clarity of hindsight, I realized that the funk stemmed from the desire to be something other than what I am – the optimized me, the better me. I would read all the posts on writing that Facebook had to offer and feel less than, until the dark specter of depression would envelope me and lull me into a non-resistant state. No, I didn’t take to my bed, but I stopped writing.
I was tired of pushing myself. Finish three chapters, five chapters, etc. a day. Don’t worry that it is no fun, or that it may not even be that good, just produce. And marketing, well, we won’t even go into that. I had come to an impasse, the place in the road where one must make a decision about what it is they truly want. If I had started writing when I was thirty, I would have gone one way, but I started in my late fifties. Now, after four years, I understand something I’d never understood before – I can’t do it. I can’t do business. I have tried so many times to do something that would give me an income, or prove I wasn’t the less than a human being I’d always believed myself to be, but nothing worked. It wasn’t because I lacked passion, focus, or direction, it just wasn’t meant to be. If I had only accepted myself for who I am, I would have spent more time doing things I regret not doing now, such as getting on the floor and playing with my kids.
I have fought against calling my writing a hobby as somehow that made it seem trivial. At my age, however, hobbies become useful. It keeps us involved with the world and brings us new friends. When we are home alone, or even with a spouse who doesn’t share our passion, it helps to be in touch with someone who does understand it. A significant other can be supportive, but they can’t experience the flight of fancy you feel when you’re feeding your passion. I have fought the fact that I am not, nor will I ever be, a businesswoman. Encouraged by others I saw on Facebook, I pushed myself beyond my limits, forcing myself to read boring articles about SEO, and missing opportunities to take my grandchildren to the movies because I had to finish one more chapter. Why? Because of an unmovable deadline I had set for myself as per some article or blog post I’d read.
No more. I have a wonderful hobby that feeds my soul and brings me joy, but I’m too old to make it a business. First of all, it costs too much. I don’t make enough selling books to pay for the advertising, etc. that goes along with a business. Secondly, I just don’t like business and never have. It’s too much work and I’m retired. Also, I was born this way. I have fought my biology most of my life. I hated going to school because I had to get up in the morning. If I had been able to go in at noon, I think my years in school would have been more productive. I might even have gone to college. I might have started writing when I was in my twenties. Like most weird people, I have struggled to fit into this world. Fortunately, I met a man who didn’t care what I did. He just loved me. How many of us can say that they found unconditional love in the person they married?
Writing is a necessity for me. I can’t give it up, nor would I want to. I just can’t go on believing it can be anything other than a hobby for me. I want to share my stories because I want to entertain. I have no lofty goals other than to make people happy. I understand those who want writing to be their career and I applaud them for their desire to work hard and establish a profitable business. I wish them all the success in the world, and hope that they will support me in my decision as well.