I’ve got today off of work, and I’m mostly (like, 95%) recovered from my cold. I plan to get started on writing soon.
For some reason, a memory of my mom floated into my head this morning. She used to play solitaire at the dining room table every morning before work. It was her way of getting ready for the day.
One morning, I came out of my room and saw her shuffling through the different stacks and peeking at the cards. I said something along the lines of, “isn’t that cheating?”
Her reply was, “No. I’m just making sure it’s possible to win. There’s no reason to play if I can’t win.”
I realized this morning, 4 years after her death and decades since that moment, that the one memory highlights a fundamental difference between her and I.
I play because I enjoy the challenge.
She only played if she could win.
Maybe that’s why she convinced me I’d never be a writer, that it wasn’t worth trying. Because she didn’t see it as a win for her. She only saw it as something hard that I’d fail at. And, since I failed, she’d have nothing to lord over her friends.
Thankfully, a dozen years ago, I shook free of that programming. Maybe I’m not totally free of it yet. I still feel like an utter hack some days. But I don’t write simply to win. I write because I enjoy the challenge. Crafting new stories and characters, waiting for news from my agent that a publisher’s interested.
The process, for me at least, is healing.
Every single word I put down, be it on a blog post like this, a new Murder Hobo episode, or in a book is a win for me. Because the challenge isn’t just the outcome. For me, the challenge is reminding myself that she was wrong.
I am good enough.
So, I’m asking all of you: are you in it for the challenge? Or just to ‘win’?