Rumble Strips

So I had an “off” day yesterday where I was cynical and critical and hopeless and sad. Then I remembered who I was, and that is Not A Victim, but rather Someone Who Can Be, Do, or Have Anything I Want. I believe that, I really do. I believe we all can. But sometimes we get in our own way, like I did yesterday, by focusing so strongly on all of those things that are the opposite of what we want.

But it helps. It helps to clarify, sometimes, who you really are and what you really want. Sometimes these “off” days are like those rumble strips at the side of the road: you’re driving down the highway of your life, you’re saying “this is where I wanna go!” and things are going along swimmingly. Then you glance at the other drivers, look at what they’re doing, think, maybe I should do that too, and in looking at the other drivers you begin to veer. First you’re just on top of the solid yellow line. Then you start looking back and forth, at them and at you, and you wonder should I have a fuzzy pink steering wheel cover? Maybe I need more bumperstickers like that car, or no bumper stickers like that car, it’s so classy… and before you know it you’re rumbling along, your entire car shaking you back to yourself.

That’s the universe reminding you to stop looking at what everyone else is doing, and think about what you want to do.

That’s what happened to me yesterday. I was made to face a lot of things about myself that made me feel less than other authors out there finding success through internet self-promotion. I am not a social networking butterfly. Even if I had access to it at work, I’m not good at being appealing to others. I have been an outsider and observer since I was very young, and things like that don’t really ever change. That doesn’t mean I dislike using things like Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr, because I do, I love to keep in touch and share my thoughts. But I feel a bit stifled doing that as Madeline Claire Franklin, Author, instead of just Maddie. See, I LOVE WRITING, but that’s not the whole of who I am. Just like I love being married, but I’m more than a wife. I love my parents, but I am more than a daughter. I am more than the sum of my parts. One of the things that makes me uncomfortable on the internet (and, too often, also in real life) is how so many people confront the world as if they were only the items listed on their Facebook profile, be it religion, sexual orientation, occupation, political party, etc.

Anyway, cynicism aside (because I acknowledge that is a generalization and I know it does not apply to everyone), I know the real Maddie is not someone everyone is going to like, but I am unwilling to be someone I am not. I’m not perky. I am annoyed by ALL CAPS. I’m not everyone’s friend, though I try to be kind and non-judgemental and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I have strong opinions that are probably different from yours, and might even offend you. This whole entry might offend you, even though that is never my intention. I have a clearer idea of what I am not than what I am, because what I am is mostly fluid. Sometimes, I’m the pinnacle of moderation. Other times, I get extreme. I can be calm, cool, and collected, and I can be a spaz. I can be supportive, and I can be jealous, and I can be confrontational, and I can be shy.

I am not going to pretend that I can be really truly liked by even half of the people following me on Twitter. And really, being liked has never been my goal. My goal has always been the same: to make a living as a writer. People, especially on the internet, have a lot of opinions about how this can be done. Most would say that by not trying to be loved and gathering an audience I will never make it. But I say that’s not true. Plenty of good, successful authors, do not go anywhere near Twitter.

Anyway, I’m done with looking at the other cars on the road. I am peripherally aware enough to avoid collision, but I am focusing on my car now, and where I’m going. I will always write books and publish them, whether that’s by myself or with a publishing house. I will always be true to myself and write the stories that I want to tell–that need to be told–regardless of how large or defined their audience might be. I will always try to accurately represent myself on the internet, and be the person I really am, and am striving to become.

So these are my goals, should I ever need to remind myself:

  • To write, to the best of my ability, the stories that come to me wanting to be told
  • To make a comfortable living from writing those stories
  • To be true to myself and my work

 

Simple. Doable. Because I have faith in the Universe to deliver that life to me, and I have faith in my stories and my words.

So much faith.

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