I woke up this morning amid a minor existential crisis. I’ve been laid up for a couple of months with my bunged-up knee, unable to drive, yet needing to get to many appointments and events. I was sleep-deprived, in pain, and incapable of performing my regular duties around the house. Even with these inconveniences, I listened to the woes of friends and family in need, and I felt compelled to be the voice of optimism.
On top of that, I’ve been busting my butt to get various illustrations and my second draft of my book done, knowing that there is a possibility that no one will see them. I usually create to liberate my soul. All the ideas that jumble around in my head want to get out, and I enjoy watching them become tangible. But now, I wish for more than just the release. I want others to find joy in the words I write and the pictures I draw. It also wouldn’t hurt to make a few dollars from my efforts. A girl’s gotta eat.
I looked at my book and questioned if all the time I spent on it was for naught. Publishing takes a while, and even though I have come a long way in the eight months since the initial spark took hold in the recesses of my mind, it is still a long road ahead. I still need to have it critiqued, then send it off to agents (if it doesn’t require another draft) and wait some more. That is just the beginning of what could easily take three-plus years before it hits a bookstore, if it hits a bookstore at all. Hobbling on crutches doesn’t help with the waiting process.
So what now? What am I supposed to do with all of this? I feel like I’ve cooked a fantastic meal for a party that no one plans to attend. Now I’m staring at all this food and thinking, “Any minute now; someone will ring the bell.”
This fortune meant something entirely different to me earlier in the week than it does now. I initially considered writing about preparation from a scouting point of view—“always be prepared.” Now, I look at it as a waiting game. I’ve got all my nifty gear, and I’ve completed training, but all my hiking plans are canceled until further notice.
The waiting period is difficult because we don’t know what is coming. It could be good; it could be bad. But the best thing to do while waiting is to keep working. As the farmer says, “Cows don’t take a day off.” Life will go on, and there’s always work to do. We should find something else to distract ourselves from the angst of the unknown. We might as well make the best use of our time.
My knee is improving each day. As I go forward, I will take additional steps to regain my strength and mobility. I won’t progress if I remain idle. I can give driving a try to reduce my dependency on others and revel in the freedom. I am not completely healed, but I am better than I was the day before.
As for my work, I will continue with one of the other projects I set aside before. I have an arsenal of work behind me, but I shouldn’t stop creating. Even if the work I’ve done in the past doesn’t produce fame or fortune, I have improved my skills by creating it. I am a better writer and a better illustrator because of the work I have completed. My preparation was my practice, and I can see now that it is already paying off.