You know that dream, the one where you keep forgetting to go to class and then you show up at the final exam, completely unprepared? I never had that dream while in college or in graduate school but then used to have it all the time once I was working and dealing with real-life stresses. I never realized that other people have that exact same dream. Recently, while riding in an elevator with my son, I was telling him about that particular dream. A woman overheard me and said, “oh, I hate that dream.”
I will admit, my life is relatively stress-free right now. I am a stay-at-home parent with three kids. Sure, there are the usual challenges of raising a family — shuttling them to their activities, making sure homework is done, and keeping them healthy and happy. It can be chaotic and hair-raising at times, but still manageable.
Lately though, something else has been gnawing away at the relative calm in my days. See, I am writing a book. Actually, I have finished the book. Hooray, you think. But, now I am trying to secure an agent so I can actually get it published. And, then there’s the worry that I think the book needs to be better — a lot better. It’s time for serious edit-mode but I am just unsure how to move it forward. I registered for an online writing class, with deadlines and homework, so I am hoping it pushes me to keep going and revise, revise, revise. But, how will I know when I’ve done all I can do? How will I know when the book is at that point when someone else just might think it’s fabulous too?
I am exhilarated about this book but I am also anxious about the uncertainty — the quality of the writing coupled with the unknown of ever securing of an agent makes me a tad bonkers. It’s tough out there in publishing and it may not happen for me, at least not now. I can accept that. But, I will need to know that I pushed hard enough, that I did everything that I could possibly do before moving on.
I am almost waiting for that dream to appear. Because if it does show up, it will be a signal: I am stressed out. And then I will know that my subconscious is channeling that stress to let me know that yes, I am working hard enough and care about this project a lot. So, even though I hate that dream too, I hope it comes back soon.