This past Friday, the Bliss Chick posted her weekly enCouraging Bliss post, entitled “Taking Your Real Work Seriously.” Since, I’ve read her post so many times I have lost track. I’ve been letting it really sink in, mulling over what she said.
You see, I have a similar problem to the one she mentions in the post concerning her relationship to writing. I’ve put myself in a very small, confining writer’s box. Fiction and poetry, according to this box and the part of me that insists I get into it, are the only forms of writing that are, as it pertains to my own writing, truly worth anything. I love reading others’ nonfiction, especially memoirs and autobiographies, even others’–strangers’–blogs, but when it comes to my own, not so much.
My nonfiction stories are all stories, in one way or another, about myself: my thoughts, where I am on my journey, answers to questions, armchair philosophizing, etc. They’re all written off the cuff. They are my blog posts, the things I write in my paper journal, things I write in emails, thank you notes, sporadic letters, or Facebook statuses and posts. These come without agony. These come often. These come easily, and usually slap me benevolently in the face with the truth of my own existence, and, at times, so I hear, throw a beneficial spark onto someone else.
The question she asks at the end of the post about our real work I still don’t know. I’m working on that. 😉 And that’s okay. I just turned 25 last month. I think I’m allowed a little uncertainty as to calling, but that doesn’t mean I won’t go looking.
For me, right now, my real work is best encapsulated in a saying attributed to the Buddha:
“Your work is to discover your work and then, with all your heart, to give your heart to it.”
Of course, as has often proven to be the case in my life, answers to big life questions are often best sought between the covers of my journal, by writing, and, later, by blog posts now and again. It helps me get clear on what I’m thinking and feeling, to straighten out the tangle of thought and emotion that so often seizes my brain in paroxysms of confusion or fear or unnamed emotions.
So what, then? Where is this post leading?
Well, you remember when I decided to undertake 100 Days Toward Bliss, right? I got a little too ambitious, picking two things to do, and wound up throwing up my hands in defeat after a few days of letting life get in the way. It did help, though, when I did it. That is the key: “when I did it.”
I’m going to give the 100 days another go. This time, in an effort to discover my work, and to keep my writing muscles in shape, I’ve decided that I’m going to write something every day for 100 days. It can be an entry in ye olde paper journal. It can be a blog post. It can be a heartfelt email to a friend. It can be a piece about how much I freaking love a song, an album of music, a musician, a band, an artist, a photo, whatever. It can be a poem, or a bit of my currently stalled novel. It can be a response to a writing prompt in one of the books I have that have writing prompts in them. It can be anything so long as it involves written words.
I’m not giving up on my nearly life-long dream of being a writer just yet. I think I need to figure out what kind(s) of writing are mine, which make me light up and put me in my sweet spot. Being a published author isn’t a priority for me, at least not until I hit my stride. And, really, if one wants to get truly technical, I already am a published author with appearances in my university’s literary journal and The Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans, 1992 Edition, as well as what I publish myself, here in this very blog!
Other reading I did today while being bored out of my skull while playing hurry-up-and-wait at the office synched up nicely with Bliss Chick’s post and my subsequent thoughts.
For instance, I read the following in SARK’s blog:
“Sometimes people wonder or worry whether people will like or approve of their creative expression. It’s none of your business. It’s your business to stay present and focused for the work of your deepest dreams. It might look crooked or strange, or be very odd–but if it delights you, then it is yours, and will find its way into other hearts.”
And, over at the Wish Studio:
Yes, every day starting today and ending November 19th this year, I will write something of some sort, somewhere…100 days, 100 possibilities for finding my writerly niche, 100 days to possibly finding my true work. 🙂