I’m Scared

16 Jan


There are times where I’m so scared about my future I can barely function, can barely type words.

When Roxane Gay, brilliant writer and author of two highly acclaimed novels, says this:

I have worked my ass off but I am lucky because most writers work their ass off and not enough of us get a shot. Am I successful? I don’t know but I do feel like I am squarely on the path to whatever success might be… I might, just might someday be able to quit my job and write full time even though I love teaching. And yet, the reality is that the advances for the two books published this year, combined, were less than $30K. Success is a lot of different things for writers.

I’m scared.

Two books.  30K.

I’m scared.

There are times when I think about my student loans, the looming dollar signs in the distance, and remember that whatever I earn in my life I will have to make an additional mortgage to address those.

If I ever even get around to a first mortgage, that is.  That looks more and more uncertain.

I’m scared.

There are times when I look at people I know, family members, friends, who chose steadier career paths, who chose jobs that will pay them heaps of money right from the get-go and think

Well gosh.

I make dumb decisions.

And I’m scared.

I’m scared because I chose a profession that is scary and unknown and that’s part of the charm, I suppose, but only when you’re looking back on it.  Not when you’re wondering how you’re going to have an adult life.

If you’re going to have an adult life.

It’s not that charming, come to think of it.

I’m scared.

I wonder if I need a backup plan, something to get me through the next 15+ years until I can support myself on my own as a writer.  I’m wondering if it’s a PhD, if it’s something else.  What that something else will be.  When I should pursue it.  How much I’ll enjoy it.  If this all was for naught.

If I’ll ever get out of my head and down to writing again or if I’m stuck in this pit of spiraling, devastating thoughts, certain I’ve screwed up my life.

I’m scared.

I’m scared because if I’m ever as successful as Roxane Gay I will count myself incredibly, incredibly lucky and fortunate and privileged and feel as though all my dreams have come true and every other synonym times 12.

And yet

Roxane is 40 years old and says she dreams of quitting her job one day to write full time.

Success is a lot of different things for writers.

I’m scared.

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4 Responses to “I’m Scared”

  1. Becky Kozak January 16, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

    I’m a chef and even though it’s rewarding creatively it completely and totally takes a toll on my personally. I don’t get paid very much, I have to work really hard for really long hours and the end goal (owning my own restaurant) is guaranteed to be the hardest thing I ever do in my life and will probably never actually make me much money. I’m living in Australia ignoring my Canadian student loans terrified that I’m not good enough at what I do to ever make it to a point in my career where I’m comfortable. And what about kids? I don’t want to be absent but working in hospitality would take away every single night/weekend/holiday/important event… it’s a scary scary world! xx B

    • jillianlorraine January 17, 2015 at 10:01 am #

      Ahhh thank you so much for your response. I shared it with multiple people like, “Look! I’m not alone! Other people feel this way too.”

  2. Erin January 20, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    I completely share your same feelings on this! The thing I’ve told myself is that if there is a possibility of failure in any endeavor, I want to make sure I fail at something I love doing. Even people with steady jobs like doctors or secretaries have the risk of getting fired or failing. So if that is the case, I’d much rather fail at the thing I love doing the most. As for providing for yourself, where there is a will there is a way! Even if it means getting two part time jobs in order to secure a good savings account or learning how to invest. You can definitely do it. What I’m trying to say is keep going. I’ll leave you with one of my new favorite quotes “If your nerve deny you. Go above your nerve.” – Emily Dickinson
    I’m pursuing my dream as a writer as well! So I hope this helps in some way!

    • jillianlorraine January 21, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

      “I’d much rather fail at the thing I love doing the most” -I love this so much. I’m thinking I need to print out that Emily Dickinson quote, too. Thank you!

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