"But you will come to a place where the only thing you feel are loaded guns in your face, and you'll have to deal with pressure." ~"Pressure" by Billy Joel
Pressure. I've been feeling it a lot lately: a tug-of-war between following my dream and caring for my family. I've wanted to be a published writer since I was very young. In some ways I've succeeded--I was a journalist and have a portfolio of published articles--but my ultimate dream has always been to publish a book--to be able to walk into a bookstore and find my humble words on the shelf beside those of so many others. I've been working toward this goal for years, writing and rewriting the rough drafts of various books and working on other pieces as well, all with my eyes toward achieving my goal.
For the past several weeks, however, I've felt as if my dream is just that--a dream. I don't know if I'll ever achieve it. I've written before about the pressure I feel to be a good mother and the pressure I feel to work toward my writing dreams: those two things compete, leaving me feeling guilty about the amount of time I spend with my children versus the amount of time I spend writing. Pressure and guilt. Some days I feel like I'm missing my children's childhoods as I sit and type at the computer. Other days I feel like my writing dreams are slipping away while I take my kids to storytime or bring them to playdates featuring perpetual games of Candy Land. I can't seem to find a balance. And the pressure to do so--to somehow come to grips with the guilt--has gotten to be too much.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Maybe I need to take a break from my larger projects--but only my larger ones. I could never stop writing completely; I would never want to. I need to write. I know that. Maybe I should just focus on my short stories, on my 100-word pieces, and on this blog. Right now, I don't know if I can keep working on my books, following that dream. I know there will come a point when my children won't need me so much--a point that I dread because it already makes me feel so sad. But maybe then it will be time to follow my dream. Or maybe that time is now, and if I don't do it right this second, I never will. I really don't know. I wish I did.