(day 0): some endings, and some beginnings

Clearing the decks before beginning the writing challenge tomorrow

(day 0): some endings, and some beginnings
Photo by Sean Oulashin on Unsplash

I spent all morning scheduling the Tales for Dreamers posts for the paid subscribers until the end of this year.

(I'm no longer taking paid subscribers for this weekly fiction newsletter, which will end in December.)

I think there were 38 posts in all that I had to schedule, and this was something that had been on my mind for a while now, a deck that I felt I needed to clear ahead of the writing challenge that begins tomorrow.  

But truth be told, this had little to do with the challenge and so much to do with my reluctance to bring a writing project to an end.

Tales for Dreamers was how I began writing stories in the first place. Well, that's not really true, because I do remember penning manuscripts years before that. I've also written to audiences before, mostly blogs and poems.

But Tales for Dreamers was something I started on a regular basis, little nuggets of fantasy and whimsy and fun and wonder.

It's how I moved to the pen-name The Dream Pedlar, after years of starting and abandoning blogs under various other soliloquies that didn't really fit, that I didn't really care to stick around with for longer than a few months or a year or two.

They were all names or personas that I took up in an act of imitation, trying to ape whoever or whatever was trending at the time, believing that if I could be that particular popular person, I too would find the fame and adulation I so desperately sought for my writings.

Took me long enough to understand that the only person I needed to be, the only person I could possibly be, was myself.

That's how The Dream Pedlar came into being in November 2011, and that is probably why I've never felt like abandoning it even though my writings on the site have seen a lot of start-stops over the years.

I'm learning now that this is normal, something every writer struggles with, creativity rising and ebbing like the tides, like the seasons.

But when I read the stories as I was scheduling them, checking for errors and such, I felt a pang of regret for old-me.

Because the stories I was scheduling were so beautiful, written with so much flair and style, with such innovative and vivid use of language and imagery, and this was long before I had even set foot into my first creative writing workshop, which incidentally was in Sydney back in November 2015, when little D was merely a heartbeat in my womb.

  • I wish old-me had had the courage to persevere.
  • I wish old-me had found success in the publishing world over all these years.
  • I wish old-me hadn't felt insecure and unable to trust her own passion and love for writing.

I have to take a moment to hug old-me and also turn my attention to present-me who now has the following to say in response to the regrets she just listed above.

  • I wish old-me had had the courage to persevere.

Old-me did have the courage to persevere. I did keep writing over these years, even if it didn't always appear that way.

True, I have lost much of my confidence, not having seen the kind of material success I wanted to, but reading the old tales I had written so long ago reminded me of the joy and abandon I experienced while writing.

It is something I experience even today, when I get to the manuscript without ego or pressure, when I let it unfold at is pace without breathing down its neck all the time.

  • I wish old-me had found success in the publishing world over all these years.

Old-me has been successful in terms of the number of works I have written and published, in terms of how much I have learnt, in terms of how whoever has read my works has mostly loved them, in terms of how the handful of readers I have are people I've gotten to know really well through my books.

The tendency to talk about a 'lack of success' is also partially because of how things proceeded at breakneck speed with the introduction of the Kindle and countless authors and books began to appear on the scene, leading to a gold rush of sorts, which has died down, inevitably so, now that the market is super-saturated.

But maybe mine is not an overnight success story, perhaps mine is a decades-long success story still in the making.

  • I wish old-me hadn't felt insecure and unable to trust her own passion and love for writing.

This reminds me of the scene in Harry Potter Book 7 when Ron comes back to Harry and Hermione, with the aid of the Deluminator.

And he feels remorse about having left them in the first place and says that Dumblebore must have known all along that he would desert his friends.

To which Harry replies that Dumbledore must have known all along that Ron would want to come back to his friends, which is why he left him the Deluminator to show him the way back.

Perspective! Makes all the difference.

So instead of looking at all the times I went astray, feeling insecure and devoid of confidence and trust, I will look at all the times I've come back to write more and find joy in writing!

So here's to saying goodbye to the past and to looking ahead where plenty more adventures lie in store.