In a dream the other night, I ran into Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant of Echo & the Bunnymen, and we got to talking. I told them I was very jealous of their lives. They’d started their band when they were teens and have continued to do what they love all their lives. Mac and Will asked how that was any different than how I’ve lived my life. “Well,” I said, “I haven’t been writing since I was a teen, growing and learning and getting better.”
“Haven’t you?” they asked.
“No,” I said. “I mean, I’ve written poetry off and on since I was in high school. I’ve written one very rough draft of a novel and started a few more. I’ve started some short stories and finished one or two. But nothing has been published.”
“Sounds like you’ve written more than you think you have,” they argued calmly. “Never mind being published. Don’t worry about what other people think. Even if you haven’t finished a lot of things you’ve started, haven’t you been writing a lot since you were a teen–and before that?”
I thought about it for a minute or two before deciding they were right. “Even if I haven’t polished off a final draft of a story or been published, I’ve have been writing pretty constantly since I was a teen, and I’ve definitely done a whole lot of writing that I considered practice, exercises to improve my writing skills. I’ve pushed myself in writing poetry and prose, experimenting, trying to hone my skills. I’ve never really looked at it that way, but I’ve written a lot more than I give myself credit for.”
“You’re on the right path,” they told me, “and you’re doing just fine.”
I woke up feeling really happy and pleased with myself. Thanks, dream Mac and dream Will!