I recently started writing more for myself.

Made some sacrifices in order to be able to do so. I’ve had so many ideas for so long and I’ve dedicated little to no time to them for the past decade.

I started my first novel about 17 years ago. About 12 years ago, and 250 pages in, I put it down and started another. Then I decided I should probably try to get a short story published first, so I worked really hard on a dozen or so and started marketing them. That took a lot of my time and yielded no success. Not much of a market for short stories anymore. How I longed for Vonnegut’s glory days writing short fiction for a magazine market that couldn’t get enough of them!

I reread some of those stories recently; I still like them. But trying to sell short fiction took more time than writing did, and so I became a little disheartened with rejections and the whole business in general.

Then another Bush snuck into the white house, and Sept.11th hit, and things just sort of flew off the rails ever since. I started spending a lot of my time researching public policy and communicating with lawmakers. I found work writing technical documentation, and then I found that after a day in front of the computer at work, and with life’s responsibilities before and after, I couldn’t find time to get back to those more creative endeavors.

Sure, I’ve jotted down notes. I’ve even talked to some people about ideas I have had. But any published writer will tell you; you’ve got to keep writing. I wasn’t; and I was feeling my life slip me by with no real accomplishment to show for it.

So now I’ve started to create more time for my writing and it feels really good. It’s a bit addictive, in fact. Already I want more. But the truth is, I’m afraid of having it.

Wondering why? Because I’m actually intimidated by the depth and breadth of some of my ideas and aspirations.

I’ve never finished a novel before. And I don’t think I’ve read enough of them (will I ever?) to know what a novel should be, how to assemble it, how to develop a gripping story arc, and so on.

I’ve never finished a screenplay. Not sure I know enough about the format, or the industry itself. What if it’s too long, too expensive, or doesn’t have enough boobs in it?

I’ve never written a full-length play. And while I might be most comfortable in this arena thanks to my background, the idea I have is of such a magnitude that it simply intimidates the hell out of me.

Is it anxiety? Is it cowardice? Is it lack of confidence in my abilities? Or is it that the idea of something being entirely under my control, and requiring entirely my own motivation and effort, scares the bejesus out of me

Often it seems I am either paralyzed by the enormity of what I want to write or haunted by insecurity to the point of incapacitation.

Nonetheless, I know my ideas are good ones. As critical as I am of other writers of fiction, stage, and film, passing my intense scrutiny is surely a benchmark worth noting. And it is the quality of these ideas that drives me to ask myself, “If I do not pursue them, why have them at all?” The mere fact of having the ideas in the first place – be they a gift from the collective unconscious, or a blessing from the almighty – implies a certain sense of obligation, necessity even, to write them.

I only hope that I can make the time and that I have the courage, wit, and wherewithal to do them justice.

Wish me luck. I need it.

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