My friend Ken likes to tease me about my packing anxiety. What I do is, I throw a bunch of stuff into a suitcase. Then I paw through the suitcase removing items and replacing them with others. Sometimes I even replace suitcases. I fret over what I have and don't have. Should I bring warmer clothes? Rain gear? For the love of god, which shoes???
I am currently packing for a writer retreat on the Imnaha. I've never been to one before. I've rented cabins by myself, but never shared a house with other writers. I'm used to my own lackadasical writing schedule: Get up. Run. Shower. Eat cereal. Talk to self while typing maniaically. Go for a walk. Write write write. Eat. In many disturbing ways I am finding myself to be a creature of habit. How will five women share one bathroom? Where will we all write? And the most fear-inducing of all, what if nothing I write will be any good?
I confess: I really do not plan to work at a desk for 15 more years. Not that I harbor any grandiose dreams of being able to write full time. I've heard the depressing statistics: something like 5% of authors can. (Darn it, why didn't I come up with the Twighlight series?) But to be able to write half-time, with a job on the side-now that is attainable. Maybe. If I have the nerve.
With every leap of faith--marriage, a steep hike, quitting your job--is the very real possibility of failure. Your marriage can crash and burn. Your knees can go out. You can realize that you aren't a very good writer after all.
I haven't regretted any of the wilderness trips I've taken, even with the charging bear, the mountain lion in my camp, the long slogs with seventy pounds. The marriage--well, let's call that a draw. I want to summon up that courage with writing too.
Just as soon as I repack.