I’ve been going on a lot of late night walks lately, just wandering restlessly around Provo. Tonight I had some interesting thoughts about how much I’ve changed in the last year. Surprisingly, I’ve grown a lot.
Last year at this time, I was all geared up for World Fantasy Convention. I had just finished Bringing Stella Home, and I my thoughts went something like this: “if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll find an agent, and they’ll like my pitch enough to see it, and after they read it they’ll want to represent me, and then they’ll sell my book somewhere, so that maybe, just maybe, I can make a living as a writer in ten years.”
Now, I don’t want to get into the whole indie vs. traditional debate, because I think it’s ultimately a false dichotomy. However, now that I’ve gone ahead and published my own work independently, I feel like I’ve taken charge of my career in a way that I hadn’t before. I’m no longer waiting on someone else to make my hopes and dreams come true, I’m going out and pursuing them myself.
That’s the big thing that I think has changed in the past year: I’ve gained a lot more confidence. A year ago today, I was working a temp job in a costume company warehouse, fretting and worrying over how to make ends meet and where to find a stable job. I had considered freelancing as a translator and teaching English in another country, but hadn’t actively pursued those options because frankly they terrified me. And as for writing, that was the impossible dream that might come true someday, but not today.
Now, writing is still the impossible dream, but at least I’m on a path that doesn’t involve lottery thinking like the old one. None of my books have really taken off yet, but at least I have them published and available for readers to discover, so when I do start to get some traction I’ll be in a much better position to succeed. And either way, I’ve taken charge of my own career.
So yeah, I can say I’ve grown a lot in the past year–which is surprising, considering all I did was stay in my old college town and work odd jobs. At least I didn’t move back in with my parents–which makes me part of an elite 15%. But now, I think I’ve just about reached the limit of how much I can grow here in Provo. If something doesn’t change, I worry that I’m going to start stagnating.
So in a year, where will I be? Who knows, but if I’ve grown as much as I have since October 2010, I’ll count that as a success.