What Are You Waiting For?

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It happened again the other night. I’d made a new acquaintance, and in the course of our chatting, the subject of writing came up.

“I have an idea for a story,” she said. “I’ve even written some of it.”

“Why don’t you finish it?”

“Yeah, I should. I will. Someday.”


On Monday, a fellow writer and friend of mine passed away after a very brief battle with cancer. Her death was sudden. Shocking. My first thought on hearing the news was, “How is this possible?” My second thought was, “She never finished her novels.”

To my knowledge, she’d written three, but never completed them. I don’t know why, but I suspect it had something to do with Someday.

Not long ago, Laurie Young wrote a guest post at The Parking Lot Confessional called Writing Scared. Please read it. Laurie put a lot of wisdom into that post, wisdom that has hit home for me this week.

Yeah. Writing scares me. Well, not so much the writing part as the sending-out-for-others-to-read part.

But dammit, I don’t want to leave this earth not having tried.

I’ll resist the temptation to post the “carpe diem” clip from Dead Poets Society. But can you stomach a few quotes?

How do these strike you?

To always be intending to live a new life, but never find time to set about it – this is as if a man should put off eating and drinking from one day to another till he be starved and destroyed.  ~Walter Scott

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite.  Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance.  Everyone is just waiting.  ~Dr. Seuss

As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.  ~Zachary Scott

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life.  But there was always some obstacle in the way.  Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid.  Then life would begin.  At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.  ~Fr. Alfred D’Souza

You will never find time for anything.  If you want time you must make it.  ~Charles Buxton

Many people die with their music still in them.  Why is this so?  Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live.  Before they know it, time runs out.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Fear not that life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.  ~John Henry Cardinal Newman

And this one for my friend Derek:

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. ~ John Lennon

At the end of my philosophical gnawing, all I’m left with is a question. A simple question that breaks the legs out from under all of my excuses. It’s a question I pose to you here in all seriousness.

What are you waiting for?


7 thoughts on “What Are You Waiting For?

    Susie said:
    January 26, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    wow, you hit me between the eyes! Great challenging wisdom, thank you!

    tahliaN said:
    January 26, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Death certainly wakes you up, doesn’t it? We seem to live our lives as if we’re never going to die, but that just isn’t true, and it might come a lot sooner than we think, so there is really no time to lose. We have to get on with it, or the chance will be gone.

    Suzanne said:
    January 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    When I read this, I wondered how far I’ve put off my future by relegating an ambition to an unspecified date, and I really don’t think I have. It isn’t always easy, putting yourself on the line, and I have once or twice found myself in over my head. But even that is a worthwhile experience if you learn from it and make sure you are better equipped next time. It seems to me, coming new to this writers’ world, that it is the most insular and yet the most public of activities where the only yardstick is the zeitgeist of opinion. That has to be one of the most conflicting of performance requirements and, were it a job specification, would probably be illegal. Hats off to writers.

    I’m sending stuff out (die hard tradition) and toughening up about the subjectivity (new tradition) because if I don’t, I’ll be the only one who knows just how wonderfully, fabulously, extraordinarily talented (and modest) I am. Right? Right! Come on then, let’s swamp the world with remarkable work 🙂

    Amanda Hoving said:
    January 30, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    This was fabulous! Thanks, Amy~

    Shari Green said:
    January 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks for this post — for your thought-provoking and motivating words, and for the inspirational quotes. 🙂

    HopefulLeigh said:
    January 30, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I’ve just decided in the last year that I really am going to write a novel but haven’t had the time to dedicate to the project. Then this past weekend, I was inspired to dream big and go to it. Adding to the inspiration is your sobering reminder. No regrets, no unfinished novels.

    Lisa Nowak said:
    January 30, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    The simple answer is, I’m not waiting, I’m doing. 🙂

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