As I continue to get up early each morning for my writing time, and create my daily one-thousand words, one question continues to plague me.
What if I’m good, but not good enough?
I’m haunted by that scene in Mildred Pierce (the miniseries, anyway — I never read the book or saw the original movie), when Veda auditions for the renowned piano teacher. Up to this point, it is a foregone conclusion that she will be a pianist. She has trained for nothing else. Her technique seems flawless, she is focused and fully-engaged. But when she plays for the teacher, he knows what she and her mother do not: that she is good, but will never be great.
What if the same can be said for me, and my writing? What if the one thing I love doing above all others is something at which I will never excel? What if I’m cursed with being just talented enough to have delusions of grandeur, but not talented enough to maintain a successful career?
Of course, I could tell myself, as I often do, that it doesn’t matter. That if I truly love doing something, I should just keep doing it, and not care. But when you’re of a certain age and you have a family and a mortgage and diapers and formula and prescription diet cat food to buy, you need to know if you have the skills to pay the bills.
In Veda’s case, she leaves the piano behind and discovers her greater talent as a singer (and home wrecker). In my case, I don’t have any other hidden extraordinary abilities — well, nothing at which I could make a decent living, and nothing that could get me out of bed in the morning, like writing does.
Do you also wonder if you’re good enough? Have you figured out an answer — or, at least, a way to stop asking the question?