Tuesday, April 24, 2012

u is for uncertainty

As I look back on the retirement years I have devoted to writing, I realize I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started…no idea how to begin, no clue where I was going, not an inkling how to get there. I sometimes wonder why I took it on when I could simply have passed the time puttering around the house or lunching with friends.

UNCERTAINTY has been my constant companion for almost four years now.

This is true whenever we climb out of a comfortable rut and take off on some unfamiliar path... 

...especially when we choose to follow something as capricious as a creative urge or as fleeting as a dream. If you have an irrepressible yearning to write or paint or compose you, too, may struggle with UNCERTAINTY. How will I make time for it? What will people think? Am I any good at it? Is it worth the effort?

I believe that writers and artists and performers are as courageous and hardworking and as driven as are the finest physicians...and I should know. Artists and writers put in long, lonely hours without compensation. We learn to coexist with UNCERTAINTY, insecurity, and fear of failure. We are constantly learning and applying what we learn to our craft. Still, we sometimes fail…when we have done all we can for our manuscript and in the end, it is rejected. When we fail to hit the high note. When a painting doesn't sell. When, like a physician who has done all he can for his patient, but still, his patient dies.

Why go on? Perhaps it is an inner voice that urges us on--the conviction that if we just keep at it…or try something new…or take a different approach…we can do better. Perhaps the next time, the patient will survive. Perhaps the next book will sell.

How do you cope with UNCERTAINTY?
"Advice is what we ask for
when we already know the answer
but wish we didn't."
--Erica Jong--
Be sure to check my next post if you sometimes hear strange VOICES in your head.


  1. I just keep writing, and I read encouraging blog posts, and sometimes I read my little list of short story and poetry publications and that fills me with hope for my novel writing.

  2. I'm not sure the uncertainty ever goes away. Somedays I love the challenge and somedays it gets me down.