Growing up, I remember being encouraged to be one of two things: Lawyer or Doctor. While other futures weren’t discouraged, these two professions were offered up as golden tickets to the World of Success. A shiny diploma to put on your wall as proof that ‘Hey, you’ve made it, kid!’
Which probably explains why I started college as a pre-med major. Fast forward one and a half years to me breaking down in front of my parents, admitting I just didn’t want to do this. Then fast forward a few more years, to me passing the bar exam and thinking ‘Oh God, what now?’
Cool story, bro. Right?
My point is: If anyone can tell you what it is like to NOT follow your dreams, it’s me. Ever since I was a little girl telling stories to anyone who would listen, I knew I wanted to be a writer. And if I had been a braver person and actually shared my dream, my life might have been a whole lot different. Those people who know without a shadow of a doubt what they wanted in their life? Who never backed down from a challenge and were willing to fight for what they want? I have always been incredibly awed by those people.
Because I took a different path. Yes: I have still made time to write a book. Although if you notice, that sequel has been a little slow in coming (okay, a LOT slow in coming). I just recently switched jobs. A change that moved me from what was basically a part time job, to a full time job with a bit of a commute that leaves me desperate to get away from a computer at the end of the day.
And I find myself thinking: I actually love my job. I work for a great company and they invest a lot of effort in creating a work environment that employees thrive in.
Still … still. It’s not my dream. In fact, it is starting to seem like that dream is slipping farther away and that somehow I’ve abandoned it. Betrayed it by no longer fighting for it.
But here is a little something I’m starting to learn. Writing is what happens when you stop worrying about writing. Or how about this, one of my favorite lines from a recent movie:
But still, I try to remind myself to never give up. The happiness of pursuit? What does that mean to me? I could put it this way: Life is what happens when you are busy making plans. Don’t focus so much on the goal, that you don’t see that wonder in what is actually happening to you now.
Do I wish I was a successful writing with multiple best seller series to my name? Heck yeah. But I can’t change what is now, or what has come before. I can’t bemoan the hours lost looking at cute cat pictures on the internet …
Or slacking off on my couch, when I should have been writing. Instead, I can only focus on today, and try to be better tomorrow. And I can only be thankful for what I do have, and what I can create.
So that hopefully is my lesson to share today. I really truly believe our best writing occurs when we stop with all that other noise, and just enjoy the ride. Don’t think about if other people will like your book, or what best seller lists it will be on, or how you are going to promote it. Think about how fun the story is. Enjoy that rush of emotion when the ideas are pouring out of you so quickly, that your fingers can’t keep up.
Because if we stop enjoying our dream, then that is when we’ve really failed. So let me steal those earlier words.
We should concern ourselves not so much with the pursuit of happiness… but with the happiness of pursuit. Focus less on the goal of being a writer, and instead enjoy the pursuit of becoming one.