31 Days: What’s important to you?

The day has got away from me and it’s getting late but I’ll share a few thoughts with you running on from yesterday’s post.

We see the world in a particular way and one of the reasons we write is to explore our version of the world and perhaps fulfil what Maslow called ‘self-actualisation’, a desire to become ore of what we are, to follow what makes us, our particular ambitions.

In other posts I’ve talked about how we can make sure that we are writing the book we want to write how we must gather to us the ideas, pursuits, stories, places and people that we find fascinating. We must follow that heart thread more closely than any other because it is the only thing that will get us to finish writing our books in the face of doubt, fatigue and confusion. It is the only thing that will guard against weariness in the face of daunting odds.

Earlier today I read of phenomenal publishing successes and noted immediately an uneasiness in myself, a sense of failure for not having reached anything like such success. But then I thought about it, I asked myself what was most important to me, financial success, recognition, the act of writing and expressing my feelings about the world. For me, the latter is the most important of all. Only if we know what we really care about can we know if we’re going where we really want to or if we’re just doing what we think we should.

I’ve linked before to Ray Bradbury’s inspiring talks. In this post we hear more about why he thought it important to do what you loved (there are further links to finding your purpose.)

Choosing what is important to you out of the many many things you could do is one of the points in this fine post by Leo Babuta of Zen Habits on How Not to Hurry. He talks about following the principle of Slow Living and enjoying our lives and interactions more deeply. (Well worth a read, there are so many good tips in the post.)

There is in modern life a fallacy of us being able to do everything. Life is finite, time is finite. We can manage it better, we can make the most of it but we still have to choose. We cannot be a concert pianist and a prize winning novelist and a great parent and a film director, well at least not all at once!

Realising what is important is not always obvious. We are swayed by our peers, by our families perhaps, by norms and upbringing. What we feel is important will uplift and give us energy and strength of purpose, what we feel is not important will drain us and make us cross and resentful. We may need to find a space for things that we feel aren’t so important, reassessing and noting where they fit into a wider whole. But generally we must find a way of moving with joy towards the things that matter, putting our energies into particular projects until they are done.

 

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2 comments

  1. Alison, thank you. Your honesty is reassuring, inspiring and uplifting. I have returned to writing in the last year because of the good it does me, anything else is a bonus. I have been to talks about writing for markets, promoting yourself etc and I cannot make it fit with what I wish to do. Your blog reminds me that there are other writers like me and I don’t have to conform to a business model.

    1. I am glad to hear hat it makes sense. Yes, it’s all business models and how to succeed. There should be a basic rule, live, write furiously, passionately, improve, the rest is extra.

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