“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
– Fake Buddha
I’ve been giving this some extensive thought lately. Not so much the first part of the quote, but the last part.
I grew up with music – playing it, writing it, performing it. I always assumed music was my future, particularly composition and I even studied Music Composition my first three years of college.
Then I went abroad for a couple of years, got married, got practical and completed my undergrad in marketing (which I don’t regret for a minute). I was a working woman for several years, then had kids with plans to be a SAHM. That did NOT work so I went on to be a working mom. No regrets there either.
But something about the music thing always nagged me. I was so passionate about it at one point in time. I loved it more than anything. And every career book in the world will tell you that what you loves when you were young is a hint to what you should do with your life.
So I’ve tried to dabble back in it several times. I did a musical, wrote some songs, tried to put together a gigging group or two to perform them.
It’s never really worked. I’ve never been able to keep up with it and I rarely have the energy to put in the effort it takes to write and record something. Not to mention that there seem to be few people interested in it.
A couple of years ago, my sister suggested I try writing. Not music, but fiction. I had done that a few times as a kid. I remember fondly taking a creative writing class in high school. Every week we had to write a poem anonymously and then we’d break up into groups and each group would pick the one they liked the best. I won. Every. Week.
But it didn’t stick. Until a couple years ago, I gave it the old college try again. It’s not that I never wrote – I’m in marketing for gods sake, writing is in my job description! But I’d never focused on it. I’d never sat down and wrote something thinking I might be able to teach someone something they never knew or make them cry.
So I did. I started a story – or continued a story I started a long time ago. It’s still not done, but then I started another and another. And ideas started coming like crazy. Couldn’t keep up with all of them.
And I still haven’t stopped. Two years later and I barely take a break from writing. People even pay me to do it now – not creative writing, of course (ha! Who is lucky enough to get paid for that??), but I get paid well to wrote blog posts, white papers, and edit other people’s shit.
I have finished a novel. There’s not a publisher or literary agent who is interested in it, but it’s done. I never finished any music album I started. I have an email list of 100 people who anxiously anticipate new chapters of a romantic comedy novel I’m working on.
I’m not saying I’m a success; far from it. But just the fact that people READ what I wrote, even if it’s only a few, is miles above what I expected. I’ve never gotten so many people to listen to or appreciate my music.
They say when you find the thing that fits, success tends to come rather quickly. I would say that for what I consider success – there are people who truly love my writing; not a lot, but they’re out there – that’s happening. I get comments every week on my writing. My ghostwriting gets published under the names of executives. Oddly, though, the latter, which I get paid for, doesn’t mean near as much to me as the few comments I get from dedicated readers.
What’s my point with all this rambling? I was supposed to be a musician. I was going to compose for movies. That idea has never left. But that idea never got me anywhere either.
Maybe I’ll never make a dime off creative writing. But I do it. Almost every day. I don’t even have to try. I need it. I need it to breath, to be healthy. It makes life magical with a million possibilities.
So maybe, just maybe, despite what I once believed….
Music was never meant for me.