Thanks to all the folks who commented on my blog and Facebook with encouragement, suggestions and kind words. It seems many of us face this issue at one time or another, so I am going to blog now and again about my thoughts and experiences as I do some self-examination regarding my writing career.
First, some clarification and reassurance: I am not going to stop writing. I do love sharing my stories. And I am not in a crisis of faith, or even a life crisis, nor am I depressed or overstressed. I have a wonderful marriage, terrific kids who are smart, compassionate and well-behaved, and a comfortable home. Rob earns a good income. We're all healthy. I have wonderful parents, a great sister, and a terrific mom-in-law and sis-in-law. Plus, I obviously have caring and supportive friends. And true, Rob is deployed for the year, but he's in a safe job and we've done this before; plus technology means we have plenty of contact. So my feelings about my writing career are probably 25 percent of my feelings about life--significant enough that I need to address them, but not significant that it's ruining my quality of life. So, while I appreciate all the prayers, please don't worry about me.
That doesn't erase the fact that I do feel discontented, and I need to face those issues head-on. I wrote Thursday's blog on Tuesday. Afterward, I found an old journal I never filled, and started using it to record my thoughts. I start with a page of freewriting, then ask myself a question, many of which I got from reading articles about midlife crisis and career change. It's actually been an illuminating experience. Many things, I already knew, but not as clearly; some things I was surprised to learn. I'm also clarifying my areas of weakness.
In my readings, I came across this: The young adult asks, "What should I do with my life?" The midlife adult asks, "Why am I doing this with my life?" That really speaks to me, because it's not that I don't love what I'm doing. Writing is what I feel I should be doing with my life (or at least part of it). But I haven't examined the "why." Instead, I filled that with goals and expectations, easy answers, and maybe even what others think "success" means.
"Why" is the Big Question, the end goal. These past few days, I've been laying the groundwork--thinking about what I love and hate about writing, examining my strengths and weaknesses. Once I have a better idea of where I stand, I can then determine where I really want to be--not where ego or outside opinion says I should be.
Have you ever stopped to examine "WHY" you do what you do?