A letter from the past

I had a different blog post planned for today — my February reads, which still may happen — but then this letter arrived in my inbox and I had to share it.

A year ago, today, I used a service called FutureMe.org to write myself a letter. I’m not sure how I heard about the site — maybe in passing or on another blog — and until this morning when I opened it and started reading, I had completely forgotten about using the service altogether. It’s clear that this letter carried a lot of weight when I originally wrote it. When I read it now it nearly makes me cry.

And I think someone else out there might need these words, or appreciate them, or be able to nod their head along with them just the way I am right now, so I’m going to share them.

Here’s what I wrote to myself on March 2, 2011:

Dear FutureMe,

You are really stressed right now. OK, fine. Stressed is not really the right word. Anxious. You are anxious. (And terrified.)

Your book went out on sub a week ago (now a year and a week ago). Sara has been nothing but awesome about it. But you are having problems waiting. You are trying to be patient but there is nothing you do other than sit and hope to see a magical message arrive in your inbox.

And hopefully it will. I have faith in you. You have faith in you. But waiting still sucks.

Here’s the thing. A year from today, when this gets to you, what you are feeling right now is going to be a distant, fuzzy memory, and I wanted to capture it. I wanted to write it down and trap it digitally, because that’s what we do these days. We chronicle our lives online. And I want you to know exactly what it was like when you were waiting. I want you to be able to recall all these feelings: the anticipation, the nerves, the way your stomach was an unyielding knot. How every unread message in your inbox induced a free-fall sensation. All for that one email (or call). Maybe it will have come by the time you get this. Maybe not.

The point is that new things are exhilarating and scary, but waiting for them should not limit your living. Keep living. Keep writing. Keep loving. With any luck, the nerves you feel now will not exist when you read this email. Hopefully you have a whole different set of issues now. Like edits and revisions and publication dates. And if not, persevere. You will get there. I’m sure of it. Sometimes you just need to be reminded.

Know that I’ve kept my fingers crossed for you. And know that I always will.

The timing of this letter seems impeccable, especially after my post last week about how the grass is always greener somewhere else. Because I have been stressed all over again. With copy edits, and book two drafting, and a whole new pile of worries.

This is quite a journey, this whole book-writing, publication-pursuing, love-of-the-written-word lifestyle. But it’s exhilarating and wonderful and scary and challenging and unbelievably surreal and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. PastMe was a mess when she wrote this letter, but she certainly had a few things right: Keep living. Keep writing. Keep loving. Keep your fingers crossed.

PresentMe is nodding in agreement.

No matter where you are in this journey, friends, keep at it. <3

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