Earlier this week Alexis Grant had a great post of taking a life-altering leap and she offered some guidelines of how to plan for it. Her post resonated with me because for some time I’ve been thinking about turning my dream of living in Paris as a writer into reality. It’s a lovely notion, but sometimes I think it’s just a pipe dream. And when those words—pipe dream—enter my head that’s when I get annoyed for giving up so easily.
What happens is that I talk myself out of it because initially it will involve a lot of red tape, bureaucracy, and too many complications with dogs and finances. I don’t like obstacles of any type, and I want the process to go as smoothly as possible. Ironically, for someone who hates process and wants to simplify things, I tend to complicate it even more with a lot of “what if” scenarios.
To simplify this post and just get to the point, the big issue is not the bureaucracy and red tape (and the French are famous for that) the dogs, or even money. The problem is me. I simply get in the way of things by over thinking and analyzing the situation. I don’t like surprises–not even pleasant ones like getting an unexpected gift. I want everything to go as planned, and if it doesn’t go as it should I want to make sure that Plan B kicks in. Have I always been this way? Pretty much. I remember when I turned twenty-one my mother had planned a surprise party, and I got whiff of what she was up to. When I told her not to throw one, she said I was a pill. Maybe, but I really dislike surprises.
So here I am three paragraphs into this post and what does it have to do with hunkering down and Paris? After much thought, I reached the conclusion that Paris is not attainable until I finish Julius. Why? It all goes back to that post by Alexis Grant and taking leaps. Paris, literally and figuratively, is a huge leap. A bona-fide life-altering leap. There’s the language and culture issue, housing, dogs, finances, and the whole magillah. And how is this connected to Julius? Bear with me, and you’ll understand my logic (or at least I hope so). Writing and finishing a novel is one of those accomplishments that also changes you. Not everyone can say I’m going to sit my ass in a chair and write a novel. I know. It’s hard. Julius has gone from a simple idea that didn’t require much research to this opus that has turned into the anti-Atlas Shrugged–see what I mean about complicating things? I can’t focus on two major life-altering goals at the same time. It’s either finish the book or start laying the groundwork for Paris.
I reached the conclusion that after of thousands of hours spent researching, writing, revising, and thousands of dollars spent on books on craft, progressive history and politics that finishing the book, acquiring an agent, and having it published is my priority. That’s where hunkering down comes into play—finish Julius so I can get to Paris. Now that was pretty simple, wasn’t it?