Last week, I had a bit of a career crisis. I began to doubt that I could make it as a writer, and that turned my world sideways, dumping all my beliefs in a puddle at my feet.
In April, my day job went away, and I’m now trying to support myself and my daughter as a freelancer. The finances are dicey, and I don’t quite have a handle on the new schedule. But I do have a plan, which involves selling at least two more books this year. But last week, something happened that made my doubts soar and my confidence sink like a stone. I just wanted to curl up and quit.
Yet I have always been a storyteller, even before I could write down the elaborate adventures I made up as a kid. Once upon a time, my imaginary friends lived in our front yard and only my mother worried how real they were to me. Now they live on my computer, blogs, and Facebook pages and annoy my friends, who sometimes gently ask, “You know they’re not real, right?” (Click here if you'd like to help me make up the next hero.)
On my website, I claim to come from a long line of storytellers, which I do. What I don’t point out is that I also come from a long line of horse thieves and highwaymen, including some who once plagued the travelers of the Natchez Trace.
This is a picture I took of the Trace a few years ago, to remind me that the paths we take, sometimes the paths we have to take, are seldom safe or easy. They are filled with ups and downs, darkness and light, adventures made easier or more dangerous by the choices we make. Do we become highwaymen (and take the easy way)—or do we sell stories about them instead?
In my doubts, I turned to other writers as well as my friends. They reminded me that being a writer is never easy, especially if you have to pay the bills with your talent. Then again, following God’s path for your life isn’t always easy either, even when you know it’s the right way, sometimes the only way, Home.
The secret is in the choices. Do we choose the right but rocky way, or do we take an easier way, but perhaps one that leads us away from God’s guidance? How do we find the strength and will to trust Him?
Since April, and all the events leading up to the change in my job, I believe that I am where God wants me. So I need to work with Him and what He guides me through. So last week, I buried my ego, girded my talent, and tackled a challenge. Now, I’m sending up prayers that it was the choice He wanted me make, and listening closely for the answer. Trusting.