I wish I could say that I’ve been writing a lot since you haven’t seen me in over a month. And actually, for someone who has minor health issues plaguing them, I have written quite a lot. Mainly, it’s been on blogs and the like but I came to a realization the other day.
‘I am the master of my fate: The Captain of my soul.’ is a well-known quote from poet William Ernest Henley. It’s taken from a poem called Invictus but it surprised me to find out that it didn’t have a title when it was first written. Matter of fact, the author didn’t title it at all but an editor did when including it in the Oxford Book of English Verse at a later date.
What I found even more interesting is that he wrote this during a horrible time in his life. He’d lost one of his legs and was about to lose another from tuberculosis of the bone that he contracted when he was 12. It was published untitled in his first Book of Verse in 1888, hidden amongst his other poems but it is the one he is best remembered for today. Considering that he was a very influential person of his time, I find it surprising that he is most remembered for a bit of work he didn’t think needed a title. Somehow, he managed not to lose his second leg and while he was recovering in hospital, he wrote the words that have inspired thousands.
While I had heard this many, many times, it just recently struck me as inspirational. No, I’m not in my darkest days even though the minor health issues are annoying, none of them are life threatening. But my lack of forward movement in my writing has me paralyzed in a way I can’t describe. It’s not for lack of ideas or passion or even will. It’s just something I’m not doing. It’s like I’m just passing time.
Then I read that quote from somewhere. Possibly on Facebook or some other social media. And suddenly, it struck me: I am the master of my fate. Yes, depression or laziness could be my reasons, however, I have never bided by them this long. I am the master of my fate…there is no one to steer me but me. There is no one to plan my books or plot my tales. If I don’t tell these tales, who will?
No one can do what I can do with words. They aren’t me and just waiting for something to happen is just so wrong on so many levels, it’s unreal. Writing is a passion – or it should be – for every author. If you aren’t passionate about what you do then you shouldn’t be doing it. That’s the bottom line. I have wanted to be a writer since I was 12. Hell, I am a writer but when I don’t produce what I know I’m capable of, then I feel like a sham and I let everyone down, least of all myself.
I am passionate about writing. But I’m just as lackadaisical about allowing the wave to pull me along, to let someone or something to be my master other than myself. This isn’t what a good writer does. And as it was pointed out to me by Steve Windsor in his book Authorphobia, only I can change it. Only I can move it forward and write that book in just 9 days, more or less. Or short story, or novella, or whatever the hell I want to write.
My time for excuses or whines or reasons is over. It’s time to put my nose to the grindstone and get the stories told because I have never allowed my friends to stay in these type of ruts for so long. Sure, I can list reasons that I feel this way and I can point to the fact that it never lasted this long. Until I came to Europe and here the very thing that was supposed to inspire, filled me with dread. It took me four years to make any friends because even though I am outgoing, I am really not a people person overall.
So here, I’m out of my depth. But it isn’t a good enough reason to give up writing. Nothing is and I’ve started to work on it this week with writing at least a minimum of 1000 words since this last Saturday. This is a very good thing.
And tomorrow, I plan it to be 5000 or somewhere close. I’ll keep you posted. See you all next week. Until then…