It finally happened.
June 25th. It was the day I had been waiting for since I launched my website back in January. June 25th -- the day I had been waiting for since I started writing my novel ANOM: Awakening three years ago in August 2013. June 25... in some ways it's the day I've been waiting for all my life.
So now what?
As the clock struck midnight and June 25, 2016 rolled away never to be seen again, that question felt all-consuming. June 25th, the day I launched my first novel ANOM: Awakening into the world was supposed to be my turning-point, a watershed moment that would change everything forever. It had come and gone, and everything felt pretty much the same. So now what?
My launch party was awesome. I don't want to take away from that at all. Everything I always pictured... that's what it was and more. The turnout, the support, people lining up for my autograph in my book . . . the ice cream!!! It was incredible. I couldn't ask for a better day.
But June 26th... that was a disappointment.
I understand that it makes no logical sense to expect your life to flip upside down overnight. There was no way my book would become an overnight sensation. I know that any success at this writing game will take time - lots of time.
But talking about your life's dream has a way of defying logic.
I realize that what I'm waiting for -- what I'm searching for -- is external validation. The metaphorical pat-on-the-back from the hand of authority to say, "You made it." But isn't that what we're all hoping to find?
The Wizard of Oz realized that much. The Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and the Cowardly Lion solved all their problems through external validation. The Scarecrow wanted a brain. He got a diploma. "You made it." Problem solved.
So what would external validation look like for a writer? A big-time Hollywood movie deal optioning my novel to become the next Hunger Games? Not a bad start. Breaking into the top 100 novels selling on Amazon? That might work. Signing my very own novel at my very own launch party? That sounds pretty good too.
And so I realize... that external validation I'm looking for may never come. Maybe it's a chimera -- the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow always moving farther way the closer we get.
I'm reminded of a line from Cool Runnings. Near the end of the movie, before the last race, John Candy's character Irv says, "A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you're not enough without one, you'll never be enough with one."
And my question is the same one asked in the movie, "How will I know if I'm enough?"
Irv answers, "When you cross that finish line tomorrow, you'll know."
I'm afraid life doesn't wrap-up its loose ends quite as neat as a Disney movie. There is no finish line waiting for me tomorrow. And so I'm left waiting, but the answer will come and I only hope that when it does, it's the right one.
I love to write -- I've been saying that for a long time now -- and I hope that's enough. If my validation never gets here, I hope that passion is enough. And if I get my movie deal someday, I hope my love of writing is still enough. Only time will tell.