I recently read a blog post by Khanh Ha, about how he has received the contract from his publisher (Dear Author), and this line in particular gave me a jolt:
I read the manuscript delivery date: January 1, 2011. Ready for publication? No, he told me. Ready for pre-press process. There will be galley proof for me to read, edit, correct, before everything is locked down.
Back when I started this blog, I was a writer in potentia (of more than blog posts). In fact, when Maggie & I decided to change our lives, the idea and vision of becoming a writer was an incredibly powerful motivator to face, and go through with, all the necessary challenges and upheavals to sell the business, move to a different area and turn our lives in a completely different direction.
I would no longer be a professional web design consultant with a business card never more than 24 inches from my fingertips. Maggie would become an artist and I would write stories. Short stories, comic book stories, novels, screenplays – whatever took my fancy.
I sold the web design business, we moved to SW Scotland and I set up this blog to discipline myself to write regularly, and to try out different styles of writing. I discovered the delights of flash fiction, and through a mutually entered competition met the wonderful Mary. I went along to a Storytellers weekend workshop where I met the very different but equally superb Eryl. And throughout this time I was busy writing a graphic novel with an illustrator friend of mine, Dave.
But the Chronic Fatigue gradually crept in without me realising, at first. Not only did it slowly and insidiously coil its tendrils through my body, leeching my energy, it also sapped my motivation and joie de vivre.
It took a couple of years before I focused on photography as a way to draw myself out of the Depression and find a new direction in life I could truly enjoy, and I’m now in a much happier place (shitty things in life aside).
But the point of all this is I’ve wondered many times how it would be if I’d continued with the writing, or took it back up again; wondering even if I’ve let myself down by abandoning it.
And yet when I read Khanh Ha’s post, and about how long it is between the time of writing and the time of publishing, and all the editing that will need to be done to satisfy the publisher; and how all this is long before it gets promoted and read by anyone; all I could feel was a profound sense of relief I no longer had to think about it.
No regrets, no twinges of “what if”, and no guilt.
I now know I have laid that ghost to rest.
I am so much happier being a photographer.
And, as I commented in a post on Mary’s site not too long ago, I never have to deal any more with that gut tightening, spasm inducing reaction to people asking if I’ve had anything published yet.