Recently I read a blog by Steven Pressfield who shares an article by a concert pianist, James Rhodes, who gives up almost everything just to fulfill his Purpose. His resistance costs him relationships, time, money, and even his sanity for a while. I’m not ready to give up the people I love or my sanity, but I’m ready to do more than I’ve been doing. It’s a beautiful afternoon and I could be taking a nap or watching a movie or reading comic books. Instead I have this crazy urge to write for the next few hours without stopping. Actually, although the sun is shining brightly, I’m going to stop for just a minute and put on my sweats. When I put on my sweats, I’m telling the world that, unless it’s an emergency, I’m closed for business. It’s just my Muse and me.
Okay, now I’m good. I’m in my sweats and a comic-book t-shirt. Perhaps the t-shirt is a nice prop that I think will give me comfort when this starts getting hard. Or perhaps the writing itself will give me comfort. Comfort from what? Fear? Self-sabotage? Can I just write without stopping for a while? Can I go without interruptions?
My biggest problem is listening to too many voices. I interpret those voices to be contradictory and critical. This leads to confusion and pain. Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing enough? Am I creating something worthwhile? Will any of this lead me to my goals? I think, first, I need to listen to my own voice. What is it saying? It’s saying the following:
· Keep writing.
· Keep doing the other things that align with your Purpose.
· Yes, you can do more, but that doesn’t mean that what you’ve done is insufficient.
· You’ve written over 530 blogs in under a year and a half. You did this. No one else. You.
· Forget kudos or criticism. Just keep writing.
· You are not doing this for anyone but your Muse…and for God…and for yourself. That’s enough audience right there.
· You are not guaranteed financial success, but if you keep doing this, you will not fail.
· You may need a Plan B with regard to finances (or you may not), but there is no Plan B for writing. This is what you are supposed to do.
· Writing is the life you have chosen. Or maybe it chose you. It doesn’t matter. It’s here to stay.
· Don’t worry about being a “suffering artist.” Life will bring, and has brought, all the suffering you need. Your greatest suffering was not being in your purpose. You were living a false life. Once you found your Muse, your false suffering ended and your real life began.
· Your real life also includes suffering, but that is the suffering you are supposed to have as a result of being in your Purpose. The suffering of Purpose may include less sleep, less time with others, less money, insecurity, doubt, fear, and being rejected or ignored by those closest to you.
· It may include none of those things. If it does, keep writing and none of it will matter.
· If, by some crazy and near-impossible chance, all your dreams come true and you find fame and fortune, keep writing anyway, because most praise is just as useless as most criticism.
· The only praise or criticism worth hearing is that which pushes you to improve.
· Fortunately, all praise and criticism can push you to improve, even if it wasn’t meant to do that.
· Ultimately, however, it is only the words of your Muse that really matter.
· Your Muse tells you every day, “House on the beach.” Listen to her.
· Listen, also, when she says, “Get Started and Keep Going.”