When you spend years writing, it is a process of amazing healing, powerful artistic growth, and the excavation of deep truths translated into sublime poetry.
It is also mainly a solo process, at least at first (and sometimes for years), with few pats on the backs or promotions. It is also one of the most difficult undertakings of one’s life, creating something from nothing, swimming through the mire of unresolved emotions to build characters, using 100 percent of all of your emotions, brains and strength to go the distance to finish the novel. It’s hard work. Really hard work.
A few friends may read your book, but you are basically doing it alone. You’re growing exponentially with the help of your writerly muses, and while the gods and goddesses may be applauding you in the spirit world, until you get published and have a wide readership, most of the other humans around you have no idea what beautiful music you’re making.
What if you were offered a job, suddenly in the midst of it all, that paid great money and was a tremendous ego boost? Would you take it?
I recently got consulting work in Armenia. It’s not full-time. I could never take on full-time work now — my art and writing are my full-time work. Others have mortgages, and they must work full-time, and in that case, it’s a matter of where the intent lies. Let me explain…
Now that I’m taking these trips abroad, traveling again and making good money, I’m getting a lot of positive feedback. I’m getting a lot of ego boosting remarks. I’m getting a lot of attention, respect, cash, physical luxuries and even romantic interest.
It would be very very easy for me to get caught up in this, to fool myself into believing this work is more important than my writing or art. I’ve seen it happen with friends a dozen times. You start the new job. Everything will be easier now — but then a few months into it you’re mood flops, your soul deadens, and you want to get back to your novel, or your studio, or your music, or…
The most important work I’ve done in my life is the humble writing and the painstaking fumbles I’ve made as a visual artist. Truly, my soul wants to express itself. It may be excited by the travel, but it’s not on this planet to go help other people in some far off country. It’s here to be fully realized.
And, the good work, the soul work, are those unseen moments (that have now been going on for years) of writing what I really mean, what I really believe, and creating poetry out of my life. The soul work is the color blue in a dozen different shades swirling into an infinity of color and form on a canvas.
I have a friend in another country who is an artist. She has to work for money like the rest of us. The project she’s working on is complicated and frustrating, and she keeps losing it. Her rage is epic. I spoke to her on Skype, and I realized something. Her rage wasn’t the project. Her rage was the fact that she’d had no time in nearly three weeks to get to her studio. I told her so. She said: “Oh my god, you’re right!”
Make sure your intent is with your writing on a daily basis. The work you do for money is secondary. Keep it that way.
I’m a writing coach. www.artofstorytellingonline.com