Wow, it's been over a year since I've updated this blog.
Giant Country has been a thing, and I'm trekking through Realm of the Snow Queen - this may be the hardest manuscript yet. I've got one more semester at Berry now, which is incredibly frightening and pretty exciting all at once. Recently I've been wrestling with my future a lot. I'm not sure exactly why I picked up the blog mantle now of all times; maybe it's to give a life-update, or maybe it's because I've accepted the fact that I may be the most inconsistent blogger on the planet. Or maybe I just need the space to hash out some thoughts. Maybe God wants me to hash them out here.
Maybe someone else is in the same spot I am.
See, I've never been an avid social media connoisseur. I'm incredibly inconsistent in posts, and the act of actually posting or communicating over SM or most any technology is mentally draining for me. I have some SM platforms, mostly I use them to keep up with friends' lives, or for promotional purposes. And I only text or DM in the most necessary instances, whether to answer questions or briefly catch up with a friend or let my roommate know that I'm out getting groceries. Point is, I've got no idea why I'm blogging right now.
But I figure, it's my blog, so I don't really need excuses or explanations. So, here we go...
As I said, I've been wrestling a lot with my future lately. The After-College Stuff, you know? College may be stressful, but it's comfortable, and growing up (like, REALLY growing up) is exciting and brimming with opportunity, but it's uncomfortable. Unstable. Uncertain. Basically all the really scary things that cause me the most anxiety.
I've always been like that with change, though. I was this way when going to college as a freshie. I remember crying on my parents' shoulders the night before moving because I was so scared that I wouldn't like it, or that I would be alone, or I wouldn't be as good in the Creative Writing classes as other students, or because I didn't know ANYONE going in. Looking back, I know it was all just fear. And it turned out Berry was exactly where I needed to be, or more importantly, where God wanted me to be. I did (do!) love it, and I was really only alone for a whole of two minutes, if that. I was blessed with a roommate I adore and friends I still have and hold dear. Though I'm still pretty shy about my work in my CW classes, I've grown so much alongside many talented peers in the department.
So yeah, nothing to be afraid of, right?
I guess the fact that I know everything will be okay after college doesn't stop the fear and worry from welling up, though. I had a bit of a breakdown with my dad a few weeks ago while we were walking around Nashville for my sister's graduation (Shout out to Madison who is an incredibly talented, well rounded make-up artist, and you should all go check out her stuff on Instagram @facesbyfrie). My mind was overwhelmed with so many maybes and potentials and goodness-gracious-I-don't-know-what-to-dos.
There is 1) The Grad School Plan (which I would've avidly denied doing this time last year, but things change, and minds change, and here I am undoubtedly confused). But the Grad School Plan is tricky, because for one, very few schools actually offer the book publishing / editorial program I'd be wanting, and for another, grad school is EXPENSIVE. I'd have to take out a loan if I didn't get scholarships, and since the book business seems to primarily be in New York, Sydney, and London, those would be the places to look for if I'd want to get an internship alongside the program. NY is the most expensive of the three. So that would leave Australia or England, which would be great considering my travel-bug. But then that comes with all sorts of other issues too, like super early applications and long distance moving and let's not forget that AU has year-round Scary Spider Season. And then there's the fear of not getting accepted, or getting accepted but the cost might not be worth it, or going and discovering that I didn't like publishing after all...
The worries are literally endless. And that's only the first plan.
The second plan, 2) The Launching Career Plan, is to try getting an editorial job right out of college. This would be astoundingly ideal! After all, that's the job I've been aiming for all this time, right? But this plan is SO shaky. For one, no job is guaranteed. I've applied for internships and been denied for those internships, same as jobs, so who am I to assume that will change with a diploma? Mind you, rejection is part of life. I don't blame the jobs for rejecting me, and I'll keep applying for them - but of course, this is Worry Lane we're going down. Because rejection is a thing, and very few people land their dream job right out of college (I'm just being realistic here), least of all in the oh-so competitive publishing business, there's high likelihood that I won't land an editorial job right out of college.
On top of that, what if this dream-job isn't all it's cracked up to be? What if I end up hating it? What if I get creatively exhausted because of it?
Then we've got 3) The What If Plan. As in, what if I don't go to grad school? What if I can't get an editorial job? What if I do something completely different with my career? What if college was a waste of time? What if my degree choice was the wrong one? What if I disappoint myself and my family because I've been aiming for this dream for years, and either because of circumstances or choice, I failed to achieve it? What if I think I know what I want, but I don't? What if I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do? What if God wants me to do something else, be something else, and I can't or won't listen?
I guess the What If Plan comes down to this: What if I fail, and What if I disappoint?
Somehow I confessed all of this to Dad along our walk around Nashville. He talked through things with me honestly, helping to put things in perspective. But mostly he reminded me of a few things:
For one, my family will never be disappointed in me. My parents know that I'm not one to sit around and do nothing; they know that I actively pursue jobs and opportunities, that my sisters and I are driven. We try. Which is the whole point, I guess. We try for something fiercely, and if it doesn't work out, we try it again or try something different. As much as we might want to, we're not the kind of women to wait around for things to be handed to us. Things happen, plans change, but it's almost always for the better in the end.
Point being, I shouldn't be kicked out of the house any time soon.
For another, in the end, a degree is a degree. I made the choice a long time ago to go to Berry as a Creative Writing and Business student, and I don't regret that choice. Even if I did regret it, I can't take it back. But a degree does provide opportunity, and I shouldn't belittle that. The training I got will come in handy no matter where I go next, and the reality is that many employers like degrees no matter what major they're in. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my CW major. Just laying it out there.
Something else Dad helped me realize was that in my worrying I had forgotten the REAL endgame. I haven't been going all this time in order to land a book editor position at a publishing house, or to get a masters in publishing in Australia.
The real dream is to be a full-time author and freelance editor by the end of all this.
When I think about that, everything that I do to get there isn't as important or hectic. I can let go of the After-College Stuff stress. I can give it up to God and not be disappointed. Because the ultimate endgame, even bigger than a career, is Him. So even getting to this dream isn't as important. And that makes things not so hazy.
I don't mean to say that I'm scrapping all the potential plans. But I think I'm letting them become more like options. I don't HAVE to do one thing or another, but I CAN. I can apply to grad schools and internships and editorial jobs. But I can also apply for other jobs I've been interested in, jobs that can be balanced with the author / editor dream. Lots of writers take up non-writing careers. Maybe I can feed my travel bug by being a flight attendant. Maybe I'll learn to fly the whole plane. Who knows? I certainly don't. But the not-knowing is settling better in my mind, I think, even if it's still terribly hard.
It helps to picture an older me surrounded by bookshelves in a cottage somewhere, plants lining the windowsill, a Newfoundland dog at my older-me feet - and I'm still figuring things out, but I'm a little wiser and a little braver with some world-trips under my belt and so much Jesus that it shines.
So in the end, I'm still figuring things out. I think we all are. But it's nice to know we're not alone in that.
Let me know if I can pray for you, and I hope your worries about the future may be calmed. Trust God. He's got everything in His hands.
Emory R. Frie
P.S. If you'd like some encouragement, these songs have really helped me:
"Sailboat" by Ben Rector
"Walk on the Water" by Britt Nicole
"Oceans" by Hillsong
"Fall on Me" by Andrea and Matteo Bocelli
"Burn the Ships" by For King & Country
"Stories help us remember what we never want to forget" - Neverland (The Realms Series, Book Two)
Emory R. Frie is the award-winning author of debut novel, Heart of a Lion, and the Realms Series. Emory is attending Berry College to further pursue her writing craft. Raised in Oregon, she now lives in Georgia with her family and rambunctious Scottie pup.