Last night, I finished my book: ran spell-check, added citations, took a deep breath, and hit “send.” I emailed my editor, ate a few Girl Scout cookies, and then went to bed.
And today, I am back at it, back to writing. Starting from scratch. And I love it. This is what the writing life is about: not publishing, writing.
Don't get me wrong. I like getting acknowledged for the work I do, and I like having readers. But if no one was watching, I would do this, anyway.
Even without an audience, I would work with words, because it brings me life. That's what a passion is all about.
Where passion comes from
Writers write. Singers sing. Athletes play.
Our vocations are marked not by how much money we make or the attention we earn doing them. They're marked by passion. This is what defines us, more than any other thing.
You have heard, “You are not what you do.” Which is true. But if you do not do what you love, then what are you?
Last year, I focused on one passion I've spent my life avoiding: writing. As a result, I built this blog, got a book deal, and started getting rewarded for doing something I love.
You know what makes it all worth it? Is it the eBook sales? The speaking gigs? The promise of my name in print? Heck no.
It's the ability to pursue my passion every single day. And knowing I can do that without mortgaging my family's well-being or giving up a day job I enjoy is an added plus.
How to find your passion
This is all well and good, but what do you do if you don't know what your passion is? How do you find the “one thing” that will complete you?
It would be disingenuous to offer a series of steps to get there. Instead, I'd like to share three lies that will keep you from your passion, and why you should avoid them:
- “I don't know what it is.” Someone called me out when I said this, and he was right. I was exerting a lot of energy, saying I didn't know what my passion was, but really I was just afraid to act on it.
- You have to become poor to do it. The world loves rewarding people in pursuit of their dreams. When you make passion the goal, you will create great work. So don't be surprised when people take notice. And don't be shocked if there's compensation waiting for you. You don't have to be a starving artist.
- “One day, I'll arrive.” Dreaming is a dangerous business. If we're not careful, we may be seduced into believing that if we just found one perfect job, we'd be happy. But life doesn't work like that. You will always be a little incomplete. This is the beautiful frustration of being human. And it's where all the best art comes from.
As you pursue passion, you will be resisted and opposed. You will try to sabotage yourself. But hopefully, you'll push through the lies and persevere. You'll get back up when you fall. Because the passion is worth the pain. Right?
What's your passion? If you have an inlkling of what it might be, share it in the comments.