Derailed

When I get a new idea for a novel or a short story, I don’t panic. I play around with it, turning it this way and that in my hand. I delve into the scenes that pop up in my head, try to get a feel for my characters and where the plot might go from the concept. And if don’t have the time to do it or if I can’t figure out where it’s going, I put it in my ideas drawer and hope that something else pops into my head later on. It’s something I’ve been doing and wanted to do all my life. The wonderful thing about being a writer is that you can be a writer, no matter what else you’re doing. I had hoped to write professionally, but while that still has the potential to happen, I may only ever be able to be a writer/something else.

Like right now, my plans to work as an editor or something like that didn’t pan out. I think I’d be good at it, but my general refusal to move to New York City or LA limits my possibilities, and no one but my home church ever hired me, and I couldn’t make a living there. So I had to adjust my course, and I don’t do that very well. I suppose everyone has to alter their dream now and then. Fortunately, I always have the foundation of writing underneath everything, but I need a career. So the spark came to me one day after reading a Yahoo article on good fields to go into: court reporting. I’ve been in school for 2 and a quarter years now, and I might still be in school a year from now as well. It’s tough going, but it uses my writing/editing skills inside of it, so aside from learning a completely new machine and steno theory, it’s still in my comfort zone of things I can do. Right now, it’s in the “things I can do eventually” area of my life, but I’m getting there.

But last night – and maybe my passion is only borne of immediacy and will eventually fade into dull reality – I had a dream. An actual, for-real dream of an idea. Not an idea for a book, which would be awesome and totally something I could handle. But a dream of a website. Which I know absolutely nothing of how to do or how to go about finding and vetting people who know how to do it. I think it’s a good idea. It may even be a great idea. But it’s a bit like an rocket scientist thinking of a possible breakthrough in biology. “Damn it, Jim, I’m a fiction writer, not a business woman or a coder!” I feel like I’ve just been slapped in the face and I’m reeling around, completely at a loss because I have no foundation for anything like this. This would not be a one-woman program, and what do I know about business? I’ve said it a hundred times, I’m a worker, not a visionary. I don’t do business. My jewelry business is a business in name only – it’s barely a self-sustaining hobby because I stink at the business side of things like promotion and capital and things like that.

So is there room for this kind of about face in my life? And what if I fail? What if it is completely out of my league? What if it’s a bad idea? I don’t exactly have money flying in, and any investment capital or what have you that I don’t replace, any salary I can’t pay, anything like that, I wouldn’t be able to pay back. This is why I’m not a start-up queen. With my jewelry, I invested money into it that I already had. I’ve only given myself a loan once, and it was a bust (I didn’t take the loan out from the bank, I took the loan out from me … long story). I’m not a risk-taker. And this would be a risk. Is it worth it? Or is it just a dream?

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