They say that if you don’t learn from your mistakes, history will repeat itself. You’re doomed to relive the same results until you make a change. Today I discovered that I have fallen into just such a time loop.
What I’m sharing with you now is a blog post I wrote on Friday, March 8th, 2013. Afterward, I’ll explain just how history has repeated itself.
I am afraid.
I just had to start with that, because it’s liberating and relieving to admit your fears.
And it’s the first step in overcoming them.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to be a writer. When I was about twelve or so, I started writing a book. I had this seventy-page Tweety Bird spiral notebook, and I had an idea. That was all it took; I wrote fifteen pages front and back about a story I wanted to share with the world. Being only twelve years old, that story was completely fictional about a girl who meets a monster…haha, the things that go on inside a child’s head…but still, it was a dream of mine—a hope—that one day, I would go to the bookstore and see my own book sitting on the Bestseller rack. And then see someone walk up, glance at it, maybe pick it up and read the back cover, then nod to themselves and take it to the counter to purchase it. I just wanted to know that somewhere out there, someone else is going on the adventure I went on inside my head. That they might be feeling what I felt as I took that journey, and that they might laugh…and cry…and love…the way I did.
But that dream was shattered when I lost that Tweety notebook. All that time and work—lost. I had written too much to rewrite it and I was terrified that if I picked up a new notebook and started over, I would lose that one too. So I gave up.
Life went on. I went through a barrage of career ideas and aspirations… I wanted to be a veterinarian, a pastry chef, a marine biologist, a storm chaser, a Nuclear Engineer—none of which ever worked out. Of course, I can’t say I ever really gave anything a fair shot. Then I got married, became a wife and a mother, and realized that I was already living out my most precious hope:
To love and be loved, unconditionally. To be and FEEL wanted. To feel needed and to need someone else. To be a part of something greater than myself. To be a wife, and a mother, and a friend.
That right there was enough for me, and I was happy with it. Of course, old habits (and dreams) die hard. I was still writing poems and songs, albeit few and far between. I was still imagining, and I was still creating. Then one night, a few months ago, I had a dream.
Dreams like this one don’t happen every night. They are the muses who visit your subconscious and stay for tea. They are the inspiration that drives you mad with ideas. They are what fantasy is made of. They are hope.
This dream showed me a world—no, a universe—that exists out there somewhere, and people need to know about it. I have the power to inform hundreds of thousands of people about this existence, and I have only to write it down.
So, I got back on the horse, so to speak. I got myself re-accustomed to a typing program and I began to type. At first it was just a recollection of the events of that amazing dream; before I knew it, I had a baseline in my head for an entire trilogy! The spark was reignited, and I knew once again that my calling was to write. And now I had no other choice…how could I keep this incredible story to myself?!
But, alas, I am afraid.
I am afraid for many reasons; here are my top few:
- I am afraid that I am going to lose it again.
- I am afraid that I’m going to get Writer’s Block.
- I’m scared that it will go unfinished.
- I am afraid that I’m going to get sidetracked. Not from my writing itself, but from the storyline.
- I don’t have the self-confidence to recognize when I’ve done something worthwhile. It’s difficult to recognize potential and not have faith in it. Which is part of why this is so terrifying.
- Which leads into my next fear, actually. I’m afraid that I’m going to let people down. The story itself is incredible, I have no doubt in my mind that people will love it. But if I were to spend all this time and effort writing a book, and in the end not have it published… I would be letting down my family, who encouraged me and told me they believed in me, my husband, who supported my dream, and I’d be letting myself down as well.
Despite all these fears, however, I am going to write this story. My fantastic, brilliant, incredible husband, who stands behind my dream and my need to write, went online last week and bought me a brand new laptop, so I can write wherever I go! I have my current writings backed up both on this laptop and on my desktop, and as soon as I get a printer, I’d like to keep hard copies of my work as well.
I am just starting this journey. I am almost done with two chapters, though I have three chapters worth besides these already typed out, just waiting for me to perfect them. This is going to take a while. There is a very good chance that it will not be done this year. But I promise you all, as I have promised myself, that I am going to write this.
And who knows? Maybe one day you’ll find yourself strolling the aisles of Barnes and Noble, and you’ll see a section in the Bestseller column that says Aspect: Time. Then maybe below that you’ll see my name, Crystal MM Burton. Maybe you won’t even know who I am, maybe you’ll just like the name or the cover image. Maybe you’ll pick it up and read the summary, and maybe it will interest you. You never would have thought you’d be picking up your new obsession when you set that book down at the check out counter. But maybe…just maybe…it’ll happen.
I’ll let you know how things are coming on it as I go. It won’t be very often. I’m not setting myself a time frame or deadline—that would just rush things. But don’t worry… I have hope, a laptop, and a great idea that says this is going to get out there. =)
Here we are, over three years later, and history is repeating.
I’d gotten into the same old habit. I wanted to write, and I did occasionally jot down something small like a drabble or short verse. But life was in my way and held me back from my potential.
I had a dream of sorts a month ago, this time about the future. Dwelling on it has conjured up all my old fears. But it also brought inspiration, hope, and a patient muse. There is a universe of ideas inside my head and it calls for freedom.
So, once more, I got back on the horse (again, metaphorically). I stepped back from everything stressful and time-consuming, I finally opened my copy of Scrivener I bought six months ago, and yesterday morning, I sat down and wrote two thousand words.
It’s more than I’ve written toward my novel since February. If you could have seen the look on my face when I sat back and admired what I’d done, well, you’d have thought I really had stumbled into a fantasy world! I was amazed, proud, thrilled, and at least ten other enthusiastic adjectives.
To complete the similarities, my fantastic, brilliant, incredible husband, who still stands behind my dream, went online last week and bought me a brand new laptop (my last one gave in to temptation and accepted a glass of water from a youthful serpent—a.k.a. cup of water met keyboard thanks to child) and it’s a fantastic Toshiba with comfortable keys and the mobility I’ve been lacking.
Unfortunately, my fears haven’t changed; if anything, they’ve grown stronger. I’m still not finished with a single novel. I terminated my publishing contract to keep myself from writing for other people before myself (and to get rid of that judgmental deadline) which puts me back at square one. Thankfully, self-publishing is getting to be a pretty big deal these days and my best friend is with me every step of the way.
Thanks to her, and my supportive family and friends, and the loving muse in my personal universe, I’m ready to break the cycle and get this novel finished! Here’s hoping history won’t repeat itself again.