Get Out of Your Head and Write Something

“There are two paths in life: should & must. We arrive at this crossroads over and over again, and every day we get to choose.” – Elle Luna

I’ve thought about those words a lot over the years. How do we make sense of the things that we should do versus the things that we must do?

should vs must

In a perfect world, who we are and what we do would be one in the same. Warren Buffet’s idea of fun is reading annual reports. He reads thousands of them every year. Warren Buffet is investing. Just like Picasso is art and Mozart is music. They are what they do because they love what they do.

Joseph Campbell famously said “follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”

For years, I’ve kept my ear pressed to the wall listening for the blissful call that Campbell so beautifully describes, but all I’ve ever heard were quiet whispers and faint echoes. Eventually I deduced, not from intuition but from a series of exercises, reflections and the process of elimination, that writing had to be it.

The Writing Challenge

This month, I decided to give writing a dedicated shot (again) and I challenged myself to finish the first draft of the kids novel I’d begun so long ago. I started off enthused, writing every day with no shortage of ideas, words and clever sentences. And then I fell into a rut. My motivation disappeared and with it went my creativity. I couldn’t figure out where to take the story and ultimately found myself more stuck than a donkey in quicksand.

I still wrote every day. Some days a lot, some days very little. Some days with great ease and others with tremendous difficulty. In the end, I netted out at just over 20,000 words – a respectable showing, but nowhere near the finished draft I’d hoped to write.

As the month drew to a close, I found myself questioning whether or not writing was, in fact, my must.

I can’t say that my heart would stop beating were I never to write again. And yet, I keep coming back to it. Loving it, and then hating it. Obsessing over it and then resenting it.

It’s not an uncommon cycle. Just about every writer, artist, athlete, entrepreneur or business person struggles. I could only wonder where to draw the line between overcoming resistance and forcing something that is not meant to be.

It took a perfectly timed conversation from an old friend and life coach to make me realize that maybe, for now, this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Writing for the joy of it. Writing because it’s a hobby and not necessarily a calling.

I finally gave myself permission to forget over analyzing the shoulds and musts. To ride the wave of motivation when it presents itself and milk it for all its worth. If that means writing in cycles, so be it. Maybe one day, the action will serve as a cause of motivation, and not just a product of it.

Besides, at the end of the day, writing something sure beats writing nothing at all.

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