Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my life’s purpose and how that looks in relation to being a writer. The publishing industry, as everyone knows, can be a tough one. However, it can also make it easy to forget why we write and what it truly means to us to write.
In today’s capitalist society, it’s easy to fall into the mindset of rating ourselves by what we deem as success (either self-imposed or societally based). In publishing, that can be whether you’ve gotten an agent or a publishing deal, whether you’ve won a contest, or whether you’ve met a sales quota. A lot of writers scan Twitter contests and judge their own concepts against others. They read published works with envy and admiration at the same time. They can find critique hard to take, even though they seek it out with a genuine desire to improve. As people, we are constantly judging. Yes, we remind ourselves that failures bring us closer to success… but does that really make us feel better? Some of us, perhaps. A lot of us, no.
I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in my life questioning. In relation to writing, a lot of that was “is this really my purpose?” And I think a lot of writers can resonate with this. It’s easy to determine our worth as a writer based around our “success” within the industry. But I’d like to encourage you to look at this from a different angle. When you think back to your youngest, happiest childhood memories, everything was play, fun, in the moment, joy, creation, and imagination. This is where your life’s purpose is, I believe. The joy. So, if writing brings you joy, then why isn’t that enough to be your life’s purpose? Why do you need “more”?
So how do you get to a stage where joy is what supersedes the need for societal success and validation?
I won’t claim to be all-knowing or infallible in my answers. However, I know that what I’ve learned so far in life is this: meditate. This doesn’t have to be spiritual if that’s not your thing. But the key is to be silent. Still. Listen to your breathing. And then ask yourself questions about who you really are: Why do you need the validation? What or who in your life influenced this? Why have you carried these beliefs for so long? How do they serve you? What do you need to do to work through them? Or what can you do to acknowledge them and turn your focus elsewhere?
I believe you need to let go of your self-constructed identity. The one that comprises all your expectations, experiences, fears, worries, societal pressures, other’s opinions, etc. That doesn’t mean to abandon who you are. Actually, far from it. It means to let them go and examine them. Find the authentic truth. Question yourself and see what it is you want to be and then ask yourself which beliefs serve that purpose. And when you ask yourself who you want to be, ask yourself this: why do you want to be this? Who are you trying to please? I believe the answer should be yourself. And the reason should be joy.
If you believe your life’s purpose is to be a writer…. then all you need to do is write and let the universe take care of the rest. Does that mean you’ll publish? Maybe, maybe not. Does it mean you will have a readership? Again, maybe, maybe not. But it does mean you will feel the joy of the life you’re supposed to live. And that is what counts. Because when you shine your joy, it will shine onto other people. Perhaps you think the only way you can touch someone’s life is when they read your work. But maybe you’re looking at things all wrong. Perhaps, through the act of writing, you shine your light from inside and that’s what touches other people’s lives. That by discovering the stories inside of you, you become closer to your authentic truth and that act radiates out from you and brings light to the world. So whether someone reads that story or not, the act of writing it brings love and joy into the world by you simply following your authentic truth.
Remember, we all come from the stars, and stars are meant to shine.
Love and light,