Regrets (IWSG)

Do you believe in regrets?

So we’re on the same page, let’s define what we mean by “regret.” Merriam-Webster has a surprisingly poignant definition of the word: “sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond one’s control or power to repair.” In other words, mourning a choice; a wish that you had done something different at a fork in the road.

There are very few things I would put in that category, personally — basically, the only true regrets I have involve hurting other people with my words or actions. Otherwise, I mostly believe in the often bittersweet power of hard lessons learned. My mistakes and less-than-wise choices are ultimately what has shaped me into the person I am. Learning things the hard way makes us wiser and more empathetic to people who fall into the same traps. What’s there to regret about that?

“Why are you asking, Abby?” Well, I’m asking because the first question posed by the Insecure Writer’s Support Group for 2022 is as follows: What’s the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

I think the hardest lesson I had to learn (the biggest regret) was that if I wait for the perfect moment, I’ll never become a writer, and I lost years of writing to waiting for the “right time.” All through my twenties, I was waiting for the ideal season of life to come along before I could sit down and start writing again. “I’ll write when I have a better workspace,” I said. “I’ll write when I have more time. I’ll write when I stop being afraid.”

The problem is, of course, that none of those things was going to happen FOR me. I thought to feel like a real writer, I needed a dedicated desk overlooking a garden where I could be pensive and authorial, not just any inch of free space I could find. Life calming down, without me working to make it calmer, wasn’t going to happen, either. And fear… fear doesn’t go away. You just decide what’s worth the risk.

I had a conversation with two dear friends in the fall of 2020 that suddenly made those obstacles obvious for what they were: excuses I was using to justify not trying. It wasn’t so much a lightbulb moment as it was a bomb. If I wanted to be a writer, then I was the only one who could make that happen.

Were you able to overcome it? There have been times in the last year that I’ve mourned the time I lost to fear and unrealistic expectations. But a funny thing has happened since decided to write despite the obstacles. Once I started working with what I had (writing where ever, whenever, and despite the fear), my life started to change around my writing. I have the desk overlooking a garden now. I have dedicated time to write and work on my career every week. And the fear is quieter. Most of the time.

No regrets here.

This post is part of the monthly blog-hop hosted by the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. On the first Wednesday of every month, members are encouraged to write a post about their writing life and struggles, and visit other blogs in the hop to network and encourage one other. If you are interested in visiting the other blogs or joining yourself, visit the website here.

11 thoughts on “Regrets (IWSG)”

  1. I think there comes a point where something clicks and you push yourself to start. It’s like giving yourself a chance rather than writing it off. Glad you took that step! Good luck this year!

  2. Oh, my! — If I wanted to be a writer, then I was the only one who could make that happen.– So true. I think excuses are so easy which is why they are so detrimental. Good luck and thanks for sharing!

  3. I used to wish I had started writing sooner, but then I realized that I wouldn’t have had the life experience I have now, and my writing wouldn’t have been as good. I’ve made my peace with it.

  4. Happy New Year, Abby!
    No regrets. I feel the same way.
    The word regret is not the word I’d use when referring to my journey because each writer’s journey is highly personalized and really unique.

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