Giving Yourself Purpose

In Musings on August 27, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Some days I wake up, log on and feel instantly overwhelmed at all the information that comes streaming in to me. The future of the publishing world rises and falls before I’ve had my morning black tea (alas, coffee and I had to break up after it continued sending acid shivers into my stomach). All the lean and telling snippets of my friends lives flash at me from Facebook, making me want to pick up the phone 600 times, and the news of deaths and disasters tries to shoulder in beneath it all.

These mornings are the ones where I slip away from my computer (when I can), take my notebook to the cafe, or go to exercise class where I am in contact with both my body and my imagination (I get lots of good ideas in zumba class). And because I’ve had the kind of week where–finally–I can take a break from a schedule that has been murdering me slowly, I’ve had a lot more time to do just that.

It’s led me back to a very important idea. A reminder. That there are dreams, goals, and jobs we all have to do, and then there is also purpose. You know that feeling you get when you are doing something that feels aligned with your highest self? It makes you feel proud, connected, involved, passionate, stimulated, and so on. I want a lot of things that other working writers I know also want: to have a fantastic publishing career; to have a dedicated and loyal audience; to get to spend most of my time composing the fiction that thrills me. But above all of that I want to feel that vivid pulse of purpose in my life.

But, strangely, what makes me feel purposeful, I’m discovering, is actually something different.

What makes me feel purposeful is connecting with other writers–talking about books, helping others to find publishing avenues, walking with people into the heart of their dreams. That is to say, so long as I am engaging with the real world of writers at the same time as I’m pursuing all my personal writing goals, I feel purposeful. And you know what? That purpose carries me over the painful hump of rejection, fear, doubt and all the other crippling feelings of pursuing a craft with an uncertain outcome. 

What makes you feel purposeful? And how can you give it to yourself so as to ride out the otherwise potentially crippling storms of being a writer in a very strange time?

  1. Love this post Jordan! I definitely feel like social media can be overwhelming. All this news about what you should do and shouldn’t do, why you should buy this or that. Somewhere in that my voice is lost and it is important to remember what our purpose is. I think when I step away from the computer and spend time in the moment with the people I love-that brings me the most joy and makes life feel meaningful. My writing is just the vehicle I use to express and share that. What a greater reminder for a Friday. Thanks Jordan!

    • Brandi, that’s exactly it. I love my social media as much as the next person, but sometimes it steals energy from me too. And so can all the potential negativity out there in the writing world. I’m trying to remember there is more to life than publishing books.

  2. Hey Jordan:

    I feel where you’re coming from. I’m in the same bind, wanting to dedicate myself 100% to producing the fiction that I love.

    As far as you question: How do I get over the “potentially crippling storms of being a writer?” Simple. I look forward to revising. I look forward to letting my work sit for a day or two, and then returning to it with my red pen. And with each deletion and rewrite, my work becomes better word by word, sentence by sentence, paragaraph by paragraph, then page by page, and chapter by chapter.

    I also believe it’s a mind set. If you honestly believe that you can do it, you will achieve your goal.

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