Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tough decisions are, well, TOUGH

A few months back, I was awarded an opportunity to grow and learn, both as a person and as a writer. After months of interning with a publishing house, I received an offer to join the staff as a copy editor. To say I was thrilled is an understatement. For as long as I can remember, those tiny little errors in books and magazines and (especially) newspaper articles have always jumped out at me (You know the ones: too instead of to; lose instead of loose. Yep.). Like little flashing lights, they've leapt off the page and screamed "Hey! Look at me! I'm wrong!" So to have the opportunity to put my super power (hey, I can call it that) to good use and get paid for it was like a giant bowl of cookies and cream ice cream with all the fat sucked out. 

I jumped into editing manuscripts with a frenzy, sometimes churning out one a day. It got to where editors knew that if they needed a super fast turnaround, they could call on me and I'd get 'em there. I was building confidence in my editing abilities. I was cementing a relationship with an up-and-coming titan in the publishing world. I was making a name for myself as a copy editor. In a nutshell, I was in love.

But just like all loves, our love of intangible things (the craft of writing, meditation, yoga, copy editing, for a few examples) takes work. Sometimes more so than relationship loves, for we are usually carrying said love solo. In a marriage or courtship, love is built by two, with each giving and taking on equal grounds (or that's how it should be, in an ideal relationship). When we fall in love with our jobs or our hobbies, oftentimes there is a lot more give than there is take. And sometimes, we have to know when to make that tough decision to let love die.

Which is the decision I had to make over the weekend. Yes, as much as I adored that job (and believe me, I ADORED it), I simply couldn't do it anymore. With two other jobs, plus writing on contractual deadlines, time--the enemy of us all, if you really give it pause--became as scarce as good storylines on True Blood. And since I couldn't very well sacrifice my human relationships or my paycheck, and I definitely couldn't say "sorry, missed my deadlines" to my publisher, I had to make the painful choice to let a side job I truly loved go. (cue tears)

I know that some may say it was the wrong decision, that I should've sucked it up and found the time. And others will think it was a wise choice, focusing on more important things. To those people, I say...You're Right. Yes, it was the wrong decision. And yes, it was the right one. 

Just like with any decision we make in life, whether it be about changing jobs or moving across the country or skipping dinner with friends to write, there are rights and wrongs. No choice comes without strings dangling precariously from it, just waiting for us to either latch on or let go. Strings we can't wait to sever, and yet want desperately to hold tightly to. Strings we fear are keeping us grounded, but quietly hope will allow us to fly. 

Think of it like a balloon. When tethered, a balloon sways and bounces on the wind, always moving but never going. But the second it's released, it soars without fear, climbing and climbing with unrelenting abandon, seeing things only before imagined, its tied-down state merely a memory. We never know the fate of the balloon before releasing the string, but we always know it will fly. And, every time, we watch with bated breath as it climbs higher and higher, all the while imagining the journey it will make.

Guys, let yourself  be that balloon. Instead of just swaying and bouncing, rather than staying tied down, cut the strings and fly. Make that tough decision and see where the wind carries you. Experience the journey with unrelenting abandon and fearlessness. Climb higher than you ever thought you could. 



David James said...

Great post, Jamie! It's so hard sometimes to understand what's right and wrong - but you're right that those decisions differ between all of us. I love how you described that. In the meantime, ice cream.

Sechin Tower said...

There should be a support group for people (like you and me and most other writers) born with the handicap of only having 24 hours in each day. It makes decisions tough, but I think you made the right one!

Jordan Dane said...

Tough call, but it sounds like you trusted your gut to make the right decision. It's great to have contract deadlines too.