Sometimes, you realize it’s time to make some changes, to do things differently. It’s been said many times that the sign of insanity is to keep doing the same thing—and expect different results. Since I was a child, fiction has been the thing that tugs on my heart, that whispers in my ear to grab paper and pen, that makes me spin stories in my head. Yet I’ve always relegated it to a secondary spot on the priority list, at least in my mind.
I felt somehow that I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to give it my full attention. Perhaps that idea comes from growing up in a family where non-fiction books were taken seriously and considered real and worthwhile. Fiction, though, was considered frivolous entertainment and only to be indulged in if the work was done. Even then, reading fiction wasn’t productive, like say, cross-stitching, so it still carried little value.
But if I’m honest, far more damning is my own insecurity. Writing non-fiction comes much more easily to me. And because it’s more concrete, a criticism doesn’t cut to the heart quite so much. It’s okay if you disagree with me. But fiction? That’s dangerous. Putting stories down on paper lets you see a piece of my heart, and it’s terrifying. The fear of rejection makes me want to hide my work in deep, dark drawers—provided I have the courage to put the words on paper to begin with.
But I’m changing that this year. I’m giving myself permission to focus on my fiction in 2015 and I’m excited. Terrified, but excited. The idea took root slowly, as I thought about dreams and goals and talked with my husband about where to invest my time in the New Year. He’s a wise man, my husband, who said he had no doubt I could write fiction or non-fiction equally well—but I couldn’t do both well at the same time. My fabulous, long-time critique partner concurred and both suggested I focus on fiction, which is the longing of my heart. She and I came up with our motto for the year: Fiction ’15.
That’s where my creative energy will go this year. I will endeavor to enjoy the process, knowing full well I don’t control the outcome. And that’s okay. It’s time. Just making the decision feels wonderful and empowering and freeing.
What about you? Do you need to give yourself permission to chase a dream this year?