Even after embarking on my third novel, after I’ve accepted that the first draft will always be shit, after living through the mantra that writing is rewriting, I still have days when I find the process just a tad frustrating.
What’s the meaning of life? That’s always been the question, hasn’t it?
Why am I here? Why is there so much pain and suffering? What’s the point of finding a job and going through life hating everything just so you could earn a bit of cash to fund your drinking habit (totally not me by the way)?
Fortunately, many others have asked that question before you. Unfortunately, not many have come to a satisfying conclusion.
“Right,” I said. I slipped the paper rose I’d been hiding back into my pocket.
“I just want to be honest,” Lana said. She pointed out the main entrance of the shopping mall, where her new boyfriend was waiting in his car. “It’s just that he has… you know… and you don’t… you know…”
Money, she meant money. To be fair, it was one of the most honest breakups I’d ever had to endure. You had to give her credit for that.
“I get it,” I said. “Okay then. Guess I gotta go back to work.”
“You’re not mad?”
Mad? She’d been hanging out with this guy all week, told me he was just a friend she hadn’t met in a while, was breaking up with me for him, and they were heading off on a date right after this, while I’d have to spend the remaining hours of my shift dealing with customers trying to haggle a couple bucks off our pirated Playstation 2 games.
Like many of you, I had no shortage of ambitions growing up, each promising their own little umbrella of possibilities. And if life turned out for you the same way it did for me, these dreams probably petered out and died through the ravages of adulthood.
We’ve probably even shared ambitions as kids: fireman, lawyer, scientist. But as I entered my teenage years, I’d realise that my dreams would take a turn for the grandiose.
People like to throw around the phrase ‘keep showing up’ as if it’s the solution to everything. Want to finally finish that novel? Just keep showing up. Earn a gold medal in your sport? Keep showing up. Trying to perfect that hard guitar solo? Keep. Showing. Up.
The thing about this advice is that it’s pretty easy to categorise it as cliché, a hackneyed term that somewhat inspires but lacks in lustre thanks to its overuse. It’s one of those phrases that belong with ‘Fake it till you make it’ and ‘There are plenty of fish in the sea’.
The thing is though, is that while it sounds simple, it does hold a certain truth. Of course, you’ll always run the risk of not achieving the thing you set out for, but if it were that easy, you probably wouldn’t even want it.