Keep Trying

I’ve reached a new level of trying. It happened when I—shhh!—skipped past the age of thirty. At first, when I was young, I tried by just taking writing courses, as if that would be enough. A story here, a story there. Then the MFA. Then the first novel, then the second. I’ve sent out, I’ve applied, I’ve asked for favors as best I can (though it kills me to do so), I’ve gotten very lucky and, to balance that out, I’ve gotten very unlucky. I tried, that’s no lie, but I didn’t try as hard as I could, I see that now. I see young writers writing up a storm and I envy them their dedication and focus. When I was trying, I was writing the wrong things. I spent five years writing a novel I had to admit to myself over the weekend, when I took a peek at it, that I will never publish. I don’t know why I wrote the things I wrote. I don’t know what I was thinking. So I tried, but I was very misguided when I did. My priorities were off. I wasted time at jobs I should never have focused on. I thought I had all the time in the world.

Now, the trying has become all that I am. The trying has been ramped up to such new heights I can’t even see my shoes. I’m going to go on like this until I fall. I don’t want to look back at my thirties like I do my twenties and know in my heart I could have tried harder. So if—I should say when—other things fall to the wayside, this is why. I’m not fooling around anymore. This isn’t a hobby. This isn’t a game.

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