At times when I struggle get momentum in my writing, I find myself wishing I knew what my life was going to look like in the coming months and years. Will this novel be the one that's finally published? Will my writing goals and personal goals ever be realised?
Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of what is waiting for me. And then, even though I think I would like to know the whole story in all its details, the truth is that I'd probably be overwhelmed if I knew everything that's going to happen to me.
If I think of my life as I've lived it up to this point, I'm surprised to realise that I've probably done more and faced more than I could ever have imagined. If someone had told me as a child of all I would experience, along with each experience's inherent ups and downs, I'd have become exhausted before even starting on my life's journey.
With my head full of information about the future, I'd have found it impossible to actually live my life in the present moment - and, truly, the only moment we have where something actually happens is the "now". Think of the Sanskrit poem "Tomorrow is only a dream, yesterday a memory, but today well lived makes every memory one of happiness and every dream one of hope."
So, in many ways, not knowing what the future has in store brings out in us the qualities we need to grow. For example, if we knew for certain our manuscripts were not going to be accepted (which, of course, won’t happen to us) we'd have a terrible time committing ourselves to actually writing. Yet, it's through the writing of our previous manuscripts and our commitment to see them through that we experienced the lessons we needed to grow as writers.
Looking back on our writing, I think we'd be hard pressed to say that anything should not have happened the way it did. In fact, our most challenging experiences, the inevitable rejections, may ultimately bring us the greatest rewards by turning us into better writers than we would have been without the need to improve our craft.
Not knowing the future keeps us just where we need to be: fully committed to our current manuscripts. Our future stories are but a nebulous vision. Yesterday’s stories are nothing but a memory. But today’s story well-written makes yesterday’s manuscript another brick laid in the foundations of tomorrow’s dreams.