Thursday, March 17, 2011

(Re) Kindle your TPR Fire: Step Two, Identify Your Writing Values

This is my second post in a series leading up to TPR's first birthday on April 12th. I posted the first step last week, Examine Your Writing Habits.

There is a lot of suffering in the world right now. It causes me to question my relative ease in it. As Japan shows us that no one is insulated, that hardship can and will affect us all, and the fact that I live in an industrialized country, may pose additional threat, my place in the world seems precarious. As I struggle with the feelings surrounding this doubt, it is the perfect timing for this post. To examine why I am doing what I do?

So what makes me tick? Why do I continue to tick even when the going gets rough?  I am not talking rough like for those in Japan. I am talking the doubts and depression that goes with life in general. Generally, the going for writers is tougher than most. Look at the fate of some of the most admired writers - David Foster Wallace, Hemingway, Plath, Virginia Wolf, Shakespeare (haha, that's a joke. I think he died a happy old man dressed as a woman.) Those are just from the top of my head, which is on plenty of other things at the moment. Anyway our road has plenty of land minds, most of which are planted in our brains. If we are going to keep ourselves walking it, why? In the light of recent disasters, war, governmental chaos, demonstrations and sufferings, the likes of which will continued to happen over and over again, why do we write?

It is important to note that a value is not a goal. To get published, to finish this draft, to become wealthy and famous, to be respected, those are all goals. They will be finished when you reach them. A value is something that you will continue to strive for even after you reach the above goals. If it is important to you to be a good person, you don't just become one and stop trying, right?

I want to know what you really value. Why are you writing that book that you are working on? Why put yourself through this pain and suffering and demoralization? This cannot be as simple as making money, being famous, having a best seller, seeing your name in print. That is all a long shot and we all know it. This has to be something that feeds your soul. Some reason that would keep you at it day after day.

Here is why I keep doing it: I really believe that the more I do it the better at it I will get, especially if I try to learn from every step. I am fulfilled by it both as a mindful act, but also now that I have reached some level of mastery, I take pleasure in the product. The work thrills me. Even when it doesn't and I do not know what else to do for myself. I find sustenance for my children. I wash the bathroom floor yet another time. I still believe I have something to say, that this truth is worth documenting. It could change everything for someone, at least for a few hours of their life.

Why you do it?

Next Thursday: Step 3,  Understand the Agreement.