I made the right decision

I used to believe in Fate. I’m not sure if I still do.

I read a book while I was in the Peace Corps called The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. In the book, the protagonist was guided virtually every step of the way by people encouraging him to fulfill his destiny. And while he faced many challenges, through the strength of his convictions he was able to overcome them, and in the end he succeeded.

Which is why I think that book is a complete load of crap.

Because it’s easy to pursue your destiny when you know exactly what your destiny is. For me, the greatest challenge I’ve faced in being a writer is my own self-doubt. If someone had come along and told me that Fate had decreed that I was meant to be a writer, that success was a foregone conclusion, I’d probably have several books published by now. Because writing itself comes easy to me, but the fear that my writing sucks is a constant hindrance. So I procrastinate way more than I should, because I’m afraid to confront the possibility that I am simply not good enough of a writer to succeed.

On the other hand, if I knew for a fact that I was destined to succeed, it would take all the satisfaction out of the success. I wouldn’t feel any sense of accomplishment if I knew for certain that I was guaranteed to be successful no matter what. Given the choice, I would definitely prefer not to know.

So yeah, I don’t know if people have a Fate or a Destiny or anything like that, but I definitely am 100% certain that I made the right choice in leaving the field of scientific research to pursue my dream of being a writer.

For one thing, I’m just so much happier now. I feel so much better than I did before. And don’t get me wrong, because my boss was awesome and the people I worked with were really, really cool, but for the past few months every single day  I went to the Institute was a complete fucking drag. I couldn’t make myself interested in what I was doing, and I just felt constantly drained of energy and motivation.

Things are so different now. In the week I’ve been away from work, I’ve written a short story and a nonfiction essay and submitted them to a literary magazine, finished the prologue of my latest novel, designed a cover for my book, learned about various publishing options and formatting guidelines, and uploaded my book for publication as a traditional paperback from Amazon.com, as well as an ebook from Amazon, Sony, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and other retailers. It should be available in various formats within the next couple of weeks.

And like I said before, I don’t expect to make a lot of money from my Peace Corpse memoir. But it is helping me a lot to learn the process of writing, editing, revising, and formatting. And in the near future I expect it’ll help me learn about promoting and marketing. Which should be interesting.

I’m definitely making a lot of mistakes though.

I asked a friend of mine to design the cover because he’s a fantastic artist, but he’s pretty busy at the moment so I went ahead and designed one myself. I showed it to a couple of friends and they said it was kind of ok, but really not that great.

Which means it matches the contents of the book perfectly. So I think I’m going to go ahead and go with it.

Within the next few days I’m going to start a new blog to specifically promote the book, and I’ll be contacting book bloggers and asking them to review it. From what I’ve read this seems to be the best way to promote a self-published book. And who knows, I may get lucky. All it takes is for the right person to like it, and if that happens I’ll be pretty much set.

But the important thing is that I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing with my life. Honestly, I can’t think of anything else I could do that would make me happier. And while I may never be good enough of a writer to make a successful career out of it, I really feel like this is the right thing for me to do with my life right now.

This is what I wish for all my friends and family. I hope everyone can find something they truly enjoy; something that they actually look forward to pursuing, engaging, and working on.

And yeah, I do realize that some dreams are unrealistic, and pursuing them will simply result in agonizing and soul-crushing defeat, but that’s just part of the fun of life, right?

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About Critical Awesomeness
I'm a 32-year-old American with a PhD in chemistry and a green hat. Only one of these two things is really important.

2 Responses to I made the right decision

  1. ellielawson says:

    really great post… and oh how I needed myself a good laugh : )

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