The Amazon rankings and the Facebook likings and the sales and the numbers won’t dim your soul. They try but they fail.
The numbers can’t compare to the words.
The stories in your mind and in your heart exist and aren’t going anywhere.
There is a peace now that if it all goes away, so be it. You know on your death bed you won’t think of these stories, because they’re just that: stories. They can’t compare the smiles of those three little girls who have your heart and soul tied and knotted and stumbling daily.
Yet those stories, as fragile and fleeting as they may be, can still be powerful. They mean something to you.
Every story means something.
Nobody and nothing can take that away from you.
Nobody can take away this joy of creating and imagining and falling in love again.
Of unlocking treasures deep in the jungle and uncovering secrets dark in the soul.
When you immerse yourself, you feel like a child swimming in the ocean, unbound and free and alive.
The people who look you in the mirror are part of you but so different. They are heroes and they are villains. They are long lost loves you’d travel back in time for. They having beating hearts and they crush your own as you try in vain to make them come to life.
This can’t compare to a paycheck. This can’t even begin to equate to paying the bills. Yet paychecks and bills are reality and those people are just in your imagination.
Such is the balance.
Maybe one day the seesaw won’t constantly sway. Maybe you will stop worrying and wondering. But worry and wonder bring discipline and determination.
The thing nobody can take away is this passion and this love and this desire. Not to have a smirk on the back of a hardcover book looking all that. But to smile in the deep of night when no one is around knowing you’ve given it your all and that you keep trying and failing.
And loving every moment of it.
The industry and the trends and the competition and the reality are constant road signs on this highway. You can’t ignore them. You have to adhere to them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give up your love of the journey.
You do this for reasons that only you can begin to understand. You feel fortunate and you feel finite and you feel like any moment things can change.
But nobody will take this amazing feeling from you. To make up people who vaguely resemble you and others you know. To bounce them around in situations that vaguely resemble ones you’ve been in or can imagine. To come up with an idea and flesh it out for better or worse.
You still love the craft. You’re still learning. You’re still trying. And you’re still running to stand still. Every day and every night.