When people ask me what I do, I tell them I am a writer.
Many times, people confess their own writing dreams. So often, folks (lots of women) tell me that they’ve got a great idea for a novel, or a project they’ve toyed with for a long time. In the next breath, often before I say a word, they sigh and explain why they are deferring their dream. Money, kids, and jobs are the top reasons they offer.
Here’s what I’ve learned: anyone waiting on the perfect time to become a writer should ask themselves the question, “What’s my idea of perfect?”
I’m going to tell you the truth. My “perfect” time to write my book happened as I faced overlapping crises.
My dad had just been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
I told my husband I wanted a divorce after more than a decade of marriage and years of marriage counseling. Then, I initiated divorce proceedings before I even completed the manuscript.
I had left my teaching job at Yale and no longer had a paycheck.
Why was that the “perfect” time to write? It was the “perfect time” because I had finally quit being the good girl who was trying to please everyone but myself.
It was the “perfect time” because I grown so sick of my “good enough” life that I was willing to risk everything but my health and the safety of my child to live the best version of my life.
It was the “perfect time” because I had stopped asking everyone but the cashier at Target whether or not she thought I could actually write and decided to actually hone my craft.
It was the “perfect time” because I learned how to type and cry at the same time—whether I was crying about what had happened that day or twenty years ago.
It was the “perfect time” because I made it that way—one late night, one early morning at a time.