Today is an emotional day for three reasons: It was Ella’s original due date, it’s exactly a week before her actual birthday, and lastly, I’m on day 6 of my husband being out of town. So it’s just me and the wee babe, which is normal on weekdays and absolute murder on weekends. So with all of these feelings and circumstances swirling around, what’s the message for today? Sundays are my day for reflection, worship, and putting makeup on. What am I thinking about?
Well, failure of course.
Once upon a time, I was a writer. Writing was honestly like oxygen to me; I felt like my life depended on it. Whether it was in my journal or working on any one of the amorphous ideas taking up residence in my mind, writing was the only arena in which I felt comfortable. Confident, even. I wrote a book, a ridiculously long and indulgent novel, and tried in the most timid way possible to get it published.
You know how this ended.
Rejection, rereading, rewriting–all of this led to resignation. And finally, regret.
But today, on this reflection Sunday, I have felt so uplifted that I wonder if that regret is final. If the failure that’s haunted me is a ghost of my own creation. In fact, I’m now convinced that there is no such thing as a failed writer. There’s no such thing as “Once upon a time, I was a writer.” There are still those ideas in my head, some clearer than others. I still have my hands and my notebooks and my pencils and my pens. The only thing stopping me is the failure of the first attempt. Somewhere along my way, I knew I was a writer. I accepted that identity; I defined myself. Somewhere else along the way, I let stock rejection emails take over. I let strangers define me. I let a first attempt become a last attempt. And that is where the real failure took place.
So to reclaim my writing, my oxygen, I’ve been working on ideas again, turning my daydreams into words on pages. And I feel my mind opening up, I feel writing coming back to me. I feel like I can breathe again.