"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Sending Out An SOS
Eleanor Roosevelt said “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
Well, I’m pretty sure I accomplished that task for the whole week yesterday. You see, yesterday was my first day at Wayne State – an urban university in downtown Detroit – where I’m pursuing my PhD. Not only is it a 90-mile commute one way, it’s also way out of my comfort zone. But even though I successfully navigated the traffic, crazy parking structures, and that maze that they call campus, I can’t help but feel sad. Sad because as my seminar homework piles up, and my teaching responsibilities add on, I feel like my writing career is slipping away, that I won’t have time to pursue the one career that I love.
Confession: I don’t really want my PhD. Not at all. I want to be a writer. I am a writer. I’ve been living my dream since January. It’s not a glamorous life (the deadlines, the stress!), but I LOVE it. The writing, the editing, the community of writers (YOU all!). I close my eyes and picture my future, and it’s not of text books and lectures, but of book signings and conferences. I love public speaking! Sign me up as a panelist any day.
So the question is, why am I getting my PhD? Well, security for one. Or make that the thought of security. If this whole writing thing doesn’t work out I still need a career and I HATE working 9-5. I refuse to do it. And unfortunately I’m not a trust fund baby or a trophy wife. I have to work for my money. I’m good at teaching, well entertaining at least, and like I said, public speaking is fun! But teaching isn’t what defines me.
What to do, what to do.
It would be so much easier to walk away from academia if I knew I had more of a chance in this industry. If I had an agent, networked, made connections with the industry. If my writing had more buzz, a larger following. If I won a few contests, earned some recognition. There’s so many ifs.
This time, like other times, when I’m mentally stressed, I send out an SOS. Generally it’s to my Guardian Angel (and yes, the POLICE lyrics play in my head every time). It’s worked out for me so far… I’m just looking for a little guidance. I know, I know – aren’t we all?