Everything we do, whether it's writing, or life, is meant to be a challenge. We're not following a roadmap. We're creating one. Only we don't realize until much later we're mapping out a route for a trip we won't be going on again.
Think about it. Kindergarten wasn't anything like we'd experienced up to that point. Now it seems simple and easy, and boy, if only we could go back to those halcyon days. I remember going ahead of time to meet the kindergarten teacher, and I couldn't WAIT to start school. I was also scared, because I didn't know all those other kids, or what was expected of me. But I was definitely excited, and I eventually figured it all out, and then. . . I was nervous and keyed up about the next challenge.
Nothing is ever like you think it's going to be. College wasn't like high school, but I found my way through it and survived it, and I even enjoyed it. Law school wasn't ANYTHING like college, which was too bad, because I'd gotten pretty good at college.
Law school required me to switch gears entirely. It wasn't about memorizing and regurgitating. It was being browbeaten and humiliated in public with a series of questions DESIGNED to make you come up with the answer, but pretty much made you feel like the biggest idiot of all. Even the writing was completely different.
I'm having PTSD just thinking of it, so let's skip ahead.
Whenever you think you have it all figured out, congratulate yourself, and then prepare for the next batch of uncertainty. I now know how to do all kinds of things I didn't know how to do before. And I'm pretty sure I won't be doing any of them again. Where's the fun in that?
It did teach me this: I have to be flexible and adaptable and willing to experience new things.
Writing is the same way. Each book challenges me, making me cry out, "Why aren't you acting like the last one?! I finally figured out how to do that story!"
So, that's my pep talk for today. It's a reminder to myself, when I get dispirited, wondering why life seems so crazy and unpredictable and, on some days, unbearably hard. It always has been. It's just hard in different ways, in new ways, ways that punch me in the head and force me to figure out solutions when I don't feel like I have anything to draw on.
I never knew how to do anything when I first tried it. So why did I expect that I'd be good at it right off the bat? Okay, laziness makes us want to do something good without practicing, but laziness is one short step away from sloth, which is just down the road from burnout. All of these things that make us want to tear our hair out are experiences we will treasure one day.
I won't proclaim, "Adversity is good for you", because then you'll run after me with pitchforks and blazing torches.
It will also make us ready for the next challenge down the road.
Wherever it takes us.