"I had imagined my dreams coming true, but not what happened after that."--Melissa Febos, "Home," in Good-bye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York
This sentence really jumped out at me, because I've spent the past couple of years in the "after that." I think most writers expect that once we publish books, we will keep on and on. Even if we've said, pre-publication, that we would be thrilled just to publish once, just this one book, we know deep down that every step we climb shows us more steps ahead, new floors we want to reach. We reach one goal only to set another.
And sometimes we find that the new goal isn't attainable. Or isn't what we want anymore. Life is full of curveballs, diversions, setbacks.
It's also full of new opportunities.
We need not follow every single road to the end. Even if we once saw that highway stretching out clear and straight before us. There may be a side road beckoning, a twisty road that's hard to see the end of, but the sunlight and the flowers lining it are tempting.
We don't always know what's coming, but that may be part of the fun.