I met Bob a few years ago at the YMCA and started getting to know him better during brief exchanges while we were working out. I was always impressed by his positive outlook during each encounter. Since I am usually interested in the disciplines that writers apply to their work, I always enjoyed asking Bob about how his novel was unfolding. I was most impressed by the daily commitment that he made to move the process forward. It’s that commitment to continue with our objectives in the face of apathy that we all can benefit from making. Whether it’s writing a novel or looking for a new job, the daily steps we take are most important.
What do you think? How are you moving ahead with the apathy you encounter?
As a novelist, my hope is tied to a belief that through a pursuit of excellence, I can achieve successful publication of my work. So far, all I’ve received are rejection slips or worse, no response at all! At times, I’m uncertain as to where to turn or what the next step is. But every day I continue to write, believing that consistent attention to my craft and constantly producing new material will, in time, lead to publication.
When I retired as a clinical psychologist, I dedicated myself to a second career as a writer. I’d already been writing for 35 years; I didn’t wait until the day after to begin. With this new direction, however, I went from a settled life into a wilderness of sorts, often feeling lost. I’m attempting to develop new skills – mastering the computer, learning to distinguish trustworthy criticism, developing a professional and social network – while continuing to write. To pursue this goal in my mid-60’s added a dimension of doubt relative to limited time – not just time left but time left with a mind intact enough to write well.
Hope is more than a wish, more than a feeling disconnected from effort. I view hope as moored in part to a belief in self, in part to a faith in the world. The view grants me a sense of honesty in the way I hope as opposed to a gambling desperation.
Hope is not passive. It’s not something I wait for like the arrival of sleep. It is entwined with an active pursuit of my goal when there is no guarantee of achieving it.
My challenge is to treat hope well, to be ready to let it in when it offers itself like light through blinds, not wasting my time begging it to come to me. I have to fight vigorously at times to keep hope at my side. At other times, I have to understand that I am on my own, pursuing my goal in somber tints, trusting that hope will return. I have to set my “dials” daily on remaining hopeful so that I’m open to hope when it honors me with another visit. Present or not, hope is an option, on occasion a choice overlooked. The choosing to be hopeful keeps me prepared to do whatever I can to sustain the journey.
My hope moves in wave-like motions, my confidence, at times, a function of the waves. Nonetheless, the commitment is for the duration. Success or not, I will continue to write. That is my hope. ~ Bob McCarthy