What if?

- by Sharon Ashwood

Here’s our platitude for the day: Life is a series of “what if” propositions. What if I had done A instead of B? Made this choice instead of that one? “What if” isn’t just a plotting device; it’s the stuff our lives are made of. Unfortunately, most of the time it’s not a terribly useful line of thought.

Despite smacking my metaphorical self upside the head, I’ve been in the land of “what if” fairly regularly of late. Self-indulgent, because I don’t really have a lot to complain about. Short of having a fat trust fund or a sugar daddy, I’m in a pretty good situation for an author–a steady day job, a quiet space at home to write, and good organizational skills. You’d think juggling demands would be a snap. As advertised during my school years, there is no reason the modern superwoman can’t have whatever and as much as she wants.

Except for one caveat. There is a limit to the number of balls one can keep in the air. On top of working full time and trying to launch a writing career, my day job demanded extra accreditation so I had to pick up a course load, too. Then things got a bit wobbly. Rational people would have made a choice, but I got lost in the land of what if.

What if I just said no to my working career? Would my books get off the ground more effectively? Would I be able to grow my readership that much faster? Would I write better books? Still, the publishing industry being what it is, would it be wise to put all my eggs in the book basket?

What if I decide against pursuing writing for now, put my energy fully into my coursework? Grab at job opportunities, and take my working career to a new level? Conventional wisdom says that’s the smart thing to do, but could I slam the door on my dream of being a published author? According to Female Empowerment 101, I’m supposed to be able to do it all, right?

So went the conversation, what iffing for a very long time. In fact, I’ve stalled all the way through the present tense and I’m almost into the reminiscing stage. I’m three weeks from my last exam and a few months out from a book deadline. I still can’t help wondering what chances I might have blown by spreading myself too thin. I just hope trying to have it all was the right choice to make.

How much are we required to give up to let our creative voices be heard? No one expects it to be an easy path, but where do we draw the line when it comes to our personal lives?

One comments

  1. Sharon, I’ve gotta tell you that your books have not suffered from your melted-butter state. Ravenous is fabulous – and I’m not the only one saying it. Can’t wait for the next one!

    As for the rest of being spread too thin, well, won’t you enjoy it when you get that pesky exam out of the way and only have to juggle two careers!
    I bet it’ll feel too easy, though, and you’ll start looking around for something to fill all those spare minutes. Or seconds.