Stuck and drowning in expectations

Lately I’ve felt stuck – stuck in my writing and my life. I haven’t met the goals or plans that I set for myself, and it’s draining watching everything I thought I would accomplish fall by the wayside.

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a teen author. When that didn’t happen, I figured I’d be published by the time I was 25. I just KNEW I would be a writer. Then I changed gears – journalism rather than fiction. I’d write a piece that maybe wouldn’t win a Pulitzer, but it would help me establish my career.

Nope.

Although I took a 6-year break, I’m in the same job, with the same title and the same dead ends that I had when I was 22. I’ve been back for 5 years now, and I’ve won a couple of awards from my press association, but I’m not making headway I thought I would.

Writing for a living is where I’ve always envisioned myself. I love words and creating stories for others, but I just don’t know anymore. My day job makes me want to cry from frustration on a daily basis, and writing YA seems like a series of stumbling blocks that crush my attempts to gain momentum.

I’m not even sure if my WIPs make sense anymore. I have one completed manuscript, one nearly finished WIP, and a vague idea for another story, but why keep writing and getting my hopes up when things continue to fall apart? Yeah, I love writing, but I also enjoy not feeling like a failure on a daily basis.

At the moment, I regret choosing a writing major in college. I thought I had to choose between writing and everything else. I also wanted to be physical therapist, but my school didn’t offer the courses I needed, and I was too embarrassed to switch schools. I didn’t know where or how to look for colleges that offered what I needed, and I liked being an English major because I got to write and explore ideas. It just didn’t prepare me for anything beyond the world of academia.

Now that I’ve realized I made a mistake, I can’t figure out how to fix it. I still want to write. I still want to be published, but I want a career where I feel useful and have a chance to grow. I don’t have the time or funds to go back to school. I don’t have qualifications for a different job. I can’t start over at another entry level job because I already have a tiny bit of security built where I am, not much, not enough to make me feel successful, but enough to terrify me when I think about starting all the way over again.

I’m just stuck, and being stuck in my writing isn’t helping me feel less trapped and lost. I know writing has a lot of water treading and just trying to keep one’s head above water, but today I feel like I’m drowning in it.

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