“Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.”
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
“What distinguishes men of genuine achievement from the rest of us is not so much their intellectual powers and aptitudes as their curiosity, their energy, their fullest use of their potentialities. Nobody really knows how smart or talented he is until he finds the incentives to use himself to the fullest. God has given us more than we know what to do with.”
Sydney J. Harris
I have two choices now. I can take a nap or I can write. At the moment I’d rather take a nap. But the other day I saw something that bothered me. I was in Target, passing by the books and noticed there were two, not one, but two books by Stephen King, the horror writer. I’ve only read one horror book by King, Christine, and I didn’t finish it because I have that bad habit sometimes, but I’m pretty sure everyone knows his name from his books or movies. But right now he has two books at Target. Why is that important? It’s important because it means pretty much everyone in the Western world knows who he is. Most authors only have one book at a time at Target. He has two. I don’t know if they’re both on the top seller list, but one is. What’s my point?
My point is that Stephen King writes every day. So do I, but not for three to six hours. But he does. How do I know this? Because he said so in his book On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft. Steven Pressfield said the same thing. So do most successful writers.
What do I want? I want to be a successful writer. How do I measure success? I will feel successful when I can make a good living as a writer. What is a “good living?” I have my house on the beach and I can put my kids and grandkids through college. I define a good living as having the luxury to read and write for six hours a day without having to get up, fight traffic, and go somewhere I don’t want to be. My summer is almost over. By coincidence or unconscious design, I met with one coworker and one supervisor today, both who enthusiastically shared their ideas for the upcoming school year. I had absolutely no interest. None. This doesn’t mean that I won’t engage fully when the time comes. I will. It doesn’t mean that I hate my job. I don’t. It doesn’t mean that I think other people’s visions and passions are unimportant. I don’t. Here’s what it does mean – it means my heart is elsewhere.
My heart is with my Muse. It has been for over two years. Actually, my heart has been with my Muse since before I was born, but I finally realized it two years ago. My heart is with my house on the beach. My heart is in books and in writing. My heart is in history and literature. That’s where my heart is. But my habits aren’t there yet. I’m trying to change my habits so I can change my life. That’s why I’m writing instead of taking a nap. I want to be with my Muse…for now and for the rest of my life.
Putting my bad habits in a positive light, there are many pockets of time that I could be using more advantageously. That’s why I’m writing instead of taking a nap. I want to be with my Muse…for now and for the rest of my life.
So I’m writing and it feels good. It doesn’t feel as good as a nap, but at the same time, it feels better. When I am done, I will have produced something. If hard work is a guarantee of the road to success, then I’m one step closer. I was able to Get Started and Keep Going…even without a nap.