I think I need to start writing again. And I gotta say, it’s scarier this time around. I’m not sure why it wasn’t last time…I didn’t have anything at stake, I guess. What is even at stake this time? I’m not sure. I don’t have a well-defined career or something I’m holding tightly to. Except anonymity.
Maybe it’s that I’m older – wiser? Or things in the world feel different? Mean and lacking a general sense of goodness?
Or maybe not – maybe things are no different than they have been.
Maybe it’s more that the reason for writing is different. There’s an actual purpose behind it. Anyone who has talked to me about work and careers and life goals at all knows I’m more than eager to go back to grad school and work on my doctorate. I finished my master’s over the summer and I miss school already. I’ve been finished for two months and I would start again today if it were an option.
Last week I met a woman who had recently finished her doctorate. I asked her about the ROI – return on investment – for all that she’d put into the program. Specifically, I wanted to know about the financial ROI. It’s a huge investment. She said it didn’t really have a positive financial ROI. Yet. She finished 18 months ago and is continuing to work at the large organization she’s been at for the last several years. She didn’t automatically get a raise or a new job.
But! She also said there was definitely an ROI for her credibility as a consultant (her current side hustle). She went on to say that on this side of things, the done side, there were other things she might have done to get that same credibility. Specifically, writing a book. She’s working on one now.
This set me back in my chair. I’ve always been pretty sure I was going to write. Multiple books, probably. And I’m going to earn my doctorate. Both/and. I put off the book thing often. After I finish school I’ll probably have something real and solid to say, I tend to rationalize. What do I have to write about now?
But. This conversation had me thinking that I’ve had the order wrong. Maybe a book should come before school. My current schedule is…challenging. It has me frequently trying to rearrange and get creative with what the best use of the time available actually is. Managing the professional 8-5 is not going to fly at this point. It seemed like more school would make the most sense since fairly flexible.
And now I’m feeling a little like I’m being dragged, heels digging, toward working that manuscript that’s been haunting me instead. Maybe I should let it tell me what it’s going to be about.
And there it goes…I can feel the energy gathering. There is soul energy there. Or is heart?
And yet…if I allow my mind to engage – it’s all fear. Fear that it could affect my ability to get into grad school. Fear that if I got in, I’d be embarrassed. Mocked? Fear that I’ll be wrong in whatever I write. It’s so permanent once it’s published. Fear to make myself public. Forget school – what about the notoriety that has to accompany a book if it’s going to serve its credibility purpose? Who wants that?? Certainly not me. I’d like to stay small. To stay comfortable and whatever size I feel like being on a certain day.
Fear that this is another distraction from focusing on doing what it takes to make this business profitable enough to go back to school.
Fear that I’ll allow myself to be squished by other’s negativity. Reviews, man. Online reviews – the quick little horrible things people say because they forget there’s another person on the other side of the screen. The potential for overwhelming negativity is, well, overwhelming. I don’t use the word “overwhelm” lightly. But, man. That’s terrifying.
I should take up my old practice. Write for one hour and hit publish.