Chip away, chip away

In my quest to use my writing in a new way, I have embarked on Kindle writing and publishing, starting with short stories — all written under a pseudonym, as well.

I bought a great training program that shows you the ins and outs of Kindle publishing, and something the guy says in one of the audio recordings keeps staying with me. He says that to do this, you simply have to start, and then keep chipping away at it, day after day, until you reach your goals.

I really like this image, for two reasons. First, my mother was a wood carver, and I have fond memories of her chipping away at her creations. I can still hear the sound of her sanding the wood, and then using the tools to create these beautiful wood curls. And then, there’s this notion of being the person holding the tools instead of the thing being shaped.

For my entire adult life, I have thought of myself as the creation. It’s part of what happened to me as a result of the trauma. My sense of “agency” over my own life was destroyed. It’s just been in the past year that I’ve actually learned that I do have some control over my life and how it’s shaped.

Now, I am the creator AND the creation. I’ll just chip away, chip away at the raw materials until I reach my goal: a better version of myself that really feels alive, every single day.

I wish I had felt this way for all of my 51 years instead of just the 51st year. But all I have is right now. So even though I cry about this fact often, and I grieve for all the decades I lost to the trauma, I know it’s something I must learn to live with if I’m truly going to be a whole person.

An unfortunate truth

The other day, I read an online comment by a woman who said that she still cares about her abusive ex-husband. She’s been able to make a good life for herself and would like the same for him.

As I thought about her comment, I realized just how polar opposite it is from the way I feel. But if I’m honest, I will say that her words reflect how I felt many, many years ago, before I had fully grappled with the effects of his abuse. I wanted him to admit to what he’d done so he could move forward in his life honestly. I wanted him to be able to have a real relationship with our daughter.

Well, that has never happened, and it never will happen. I have accepted that reality, as difficult as it is. It is an unfortunate truth that he will never take responsibility for what he’s done; the consequences are vast, including never having a relationship with his one and only child. It’s impossible for me to fathom making that kind of choice.

Turning a corner on a career change

Maybe it’ll flop.

But maybe it won’t.

I started self-publishing fiction on Kindle, under the pseudonym of Maggie Waters. This was a very scary thing for me to do, even though I’m using a pseudonym to do it. I’ve written fiction before, but it’s never actually been “out there” for people to read — never been published.

All I can see is, it sure is fun to write. And getting some positive reviews is helping my self-esteem, too.

What’s challenging for me right now — “challenging” is an understatement — is wondering how my life might have been different if all of this abuse and trauma never happened to me.

Might I have become a fiction writer in my 20s?

Might I have published several books by now?

Might I have felt some fulfillment in life — a feeling I have yet to experience?

So while the past 10 days have been fun and exciting, trying something new and potentially life-altering in a positive sense, they’ve also brought up a lot of grief again. I’ve had to face the reality of my life, which is that most of it has been consumed by the devastation of trauma. It’s hard not to get depressed, realizing that I may have very little time left to feel like I’m actually living my life.

It’s a new day

Today is the day I actually made a big change in my professional life.

This is really huge for me. I wish I’d been able to be in an emotional place 10 or 20 years ago to make something happen, but I wasn’t, and I have to accept it.

More grieving about that, for sure. But that’s OK. I’ve learned that I need to go through those feelings every time I reach a new level of comprehension of what the trauma did to me and to my life.

Today, though, I made a big step toward changing my life. I published another book on Kindle, this time a short story — fiction! My first try putting something out there.

After careful reflection and a lot of tough inner work over the last 7 months, particularly focused on my professional life,  I have finally reached the conclusion that I just want to write. Period. I don’t want to work with clients, as I used to. I just want to write my own books and build a following of loyal, entertained readers.

And I’m absolutely certain I can do it, since it’s now my sole focus. No, I’m not quitting my day job yet. But my off time is going to be devoted to writing and publishing, and then promoting my books.

Go me. :-)