Opening old Word docs…

…can be hazardous to your ego.

My mom got a new desktop computer for Christmas — a shiny, fast-processing HP Slimline, one of those new-fangled machines that actually boots up quickly and allows users to have more than one window open at a time. This is very exciting for us, the family who hops on and off of said computer, because if I ever tried to pop open write meg! and, say, my email, the entire thing would basically shut down, stick its tongue out at me and then laugh in my red-cheeked, frustrated face.

So since there’s a new desktop in town and I actually have my own laptop these days, the time came for me to remove all of the dusty files hanging out on the old PC. We’re talking college papers, old lists and notes, poetry, novels started and abandoned, and photographs with boyfriends that I’d completely forgotten about (the individual pictures, not the boyfriends!).

And photos of me, too, like the one above, where I’m fresh-faced and crazy and eager to take on the world. That was from 2006, the year of my second internship with a paper in Washington, D.C., at a time when I really began to feel my whole life shifting. (And yes, I was rocking a side ponytail. It’s kind of my thing.) (And inexplicably, this is one of my favorite photos of me ever — taken by my friend Montie.)

When I was setting up the new PC, I just dragged everything that was “mine” from the old one into a file, then copied that baby onto my personal flash drive. And now, in my own quiet space, I’m unearthing all that stuff. And my favorite gem so far? An old resume. A resume in which my “objective,” as a 19-year-0ld, was to become “a bestselling novelist by 2010.”


I swear, my blood ran cold. ‘Cause, um, last I checked — which was about ten seconds ago, as I frantically looked from the open Word document to my “page a day” travel calendar — we’d already reached the second decade of the new millennium. And me? Decidedly not a bestselling author.

What once seemed like an impossible time in the future — 2010 — is here. Now. We’re already 18 days in. And I’m not necessarily any closer to being a “bestselling novelist” these days than I was as a lovesick college sophomore, scribbling poetry and other bits of phrases in her notebooks and wandering around campus with the glow of a young woman who felt she was destined for greatness.

And that she wouldn’t have to work that hard for it.

Well, I’ve grown, friends. Quite a bit. And while I haven’t lost that belief, I can certainly see now that success isn’t going to walk up casually and introduce itself with a hearty handshake, eager to make all my dreams come true. I’ve become more realistic about my abilities and goals, and really gotten to enjoy the whole steady-paycheck-full-time-job thing. I love my work . . . and I do write at work, in my column and individual sections of the paper. And I write this blog. And I write long, painfully-detailed emails to friends detailing the latest crisis in my romantic life (and make Paint photos to accompany said emails. I’m creative like that).

I just need to get back to channeling all of that energy — and the witty one-liners I usually reserve for messages to Erin, my devoted and appreciative friend — into my novel. The fourth. The one I’m working on . . . and need to keep working on. Daily.

I’m not one for new year’s resolutions — and even if I were, I’m a little late to the game — but I’d like to make a public promise to myself right now: no matter how long it takes, I’m going to make that 19-year-old, smiling-and-resume-writing kid proud. Because I might not be a bestselling novelist in 2010 . . . but that’s what 2011 is for. And I’m going to get there. One piece-meal bit of prose at a time.

12 thoughts on “Opening old Word docs…

  1. Good luck Meg! You write beautiful posts and I know you have the talent to write a book that will be a bestseller.

    And you look stunning on that photo! Kind of like my favorite too!


  2. Oh to have the exuberance of a 19-year-old, right? Nothing like rereading a journal entry from a few years ago though, to put a little extra pep in your step, and fire in your core. You can do it … still 11 months to go!


  3. Haha, where are the paint docs in my e-mails? I love looking through old word documents and photos. I even have some AIM conversations saved that are quite funny to go through.


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