When passion alone isn’t enough

“So what’s your plan for your writing?”

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Plan?! I’m supposed to have a PLAN?! And what’s with the red dots on this picture? QUESTIONS.

Rarely does more than a month pass before one of my well-meaning friends or acquaintances asks me this, and frankly it might be my least favorite question of all time. I’m not sure why, but it fills me with the kind of anxiety and dread that usually only come to me during freak storms (you should see how I prepare for hurricanes — the hilarity of my fear-guided neuroticism never ceases).

I’m not sure why, but the idea that my writing should do something has always pervaded my consciousness. It took me a year of hemming and hawing to even start this blog, because I was freaking out over finding some kind of purpose or path and wasting time asking myself bullshit like “well, what’s my personal brand going to be?” Long gone are the beautiful, sad days when I wrote just to write, sitting up in my room scribbling in journal after journal with no intention of ever showing anyone my work. That was simple. This feels like anything but.

I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. A few days ago, my brother and I were chatting about his foray into standup comedy. I told him I was proud of him for how much he’s killing it — he only started about a year ago and he’s already come so far in both his confidence and performing skills.

His response? “Thanks! It’s weird cause I have no idea what I’m doing. Is this a hobby or what?”

I said some offhanded things about how passion projects don’t necessarily need a definition — they provide all kinds of benefits to us without necessarily needing to go anywhere in particular. But I would be lying if I said I never feel that way about my writing. What AM I doing? Who am I doing it for? Why isn’t writing up in my room enough for me anymore? What pushes me to face my fears and share my deepest longings and secrets with everyone I’ve ever known (including their mothers) not to mention any stranger or potential employer that happens upon my work?!

The ultimate question is: why isn’t it enough?

Why isn’t it enough to write a decent personal blog with a handful of followers who look forward to reading my essays? Why isn’t it enough for my brother to stand up on stage a couple of times a month and make some people laugh? Why are we so driven to do more, push harder, define it, perfect it, monetize it?

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. Today, I’m just asking. I’m asking because that feeling of dread that comes every time someone asks me if I have a plan perplexes me. Why can’t I say, “I don’t have one — writing words and pressing publish is the extend of my plan”?!

If I’m being honest, I’ve been disenchanted with all of it lately, in a way that’s been really hard to pinpoint. I can’t tell if I’m sick of my own voice, or if I’m just experiencing some fatigue. Perhaps I’m just ready to reach out for something bigger — or maybe just different. Maybe, I just really need a plan to push me forward, and not having one in place is sabotaging me.

All I know is that none of it feels like enough. A passion project like this blog probably can’t stay suspended forever. It has to move forward; to grow. Otherwise, I risk losing the drive to just keep writing. I risk giving the whole thing up in lieu of something more practical; something easier. Something that doesn’t push me quite so far out of my comfort zone or require me to give myself so brazenly.

The crux is that right now, I’m a bit directionless. Yet I still feel the desire buzzing just beneath the surface, telling me to keep moving forward. I have no idea what I’m moving towards or what my end game is. I just know that I can’t stop now.

I guess I’ll just have to figure it out when I get there.

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16 thoughts on “When passion alone isn’t enough

  1. Cutegirlwithabanjo,

    Something I have been mentored in and share with others is that yes vision is important. Without it people and civilizations eventually do perish. I want to validate that you must move deeper in. Charge further forward or you will stop. Atrophy and stop. Motion is life.

    Yet what must drive a vision is your why? It will take exploring your passions and self and fears and hates and all of what makes you- you. Why? Why are you afraid? Why do I hate or love this? What drives you up the wall in the world? What do you adore and fall in love with? What would you change in the world? What is freedom defined and lived out? How can you help other people find their freedom or joy or love or passion?

    Success is defined many ways by many people. Failure is defined the same way- not being to achieve what you desire to in life. Someone may not have a drive to achieve anything. Them doing little or nothing with their life is success to them. I know someone content to get drunk consistently and be a gas station manager for his life. To me that would be failure but to him that is success. I would view that as selfish in some senses but he sees it as just living his life.

    I think deep down to have a portion that wants more because it is who you are. You don’t settle. And really all the success in the world will not bring contentment. If the end and not the process is the focus for there is always a new end but only a continual process. Glorification or corruption. Life or decay.

    I think you are becoming more and as you find out whatever your more is there is always that drive for excellence.

    I would say it is probably easier to find your why than you think but some find it during the journey and their path totally changes. So carry on!

    And sometimes it is not always what you want to happen but avoiding what you dread will happen? What are you really dreading and aren’t you really taking the best action you could currently to address that now? If not- do something about it.

    Action cures everything.

    • Can I just say that I appreciate this insanely thoughtful comment? I am generally terrified of comments, but you totally reminded me why I love reading them. Sometimes they’re just so dang insightful and just what you need to hear. So thank you for that!

      I think you are absolutely correct that I must delve deeper, but I’ve been having a hard time listening to and working through my inspiration since my mother died. I am not sure why, but it’s been a constant struggle. I think my grieving has blocked me in some ways. It is almost as though my mind does not want to move forward with its full creativity because I don’t want to leave her memory behind. Maybe I am clinging to my pain; afraid to let go or let beauty come out of it? I am exploring all of this on the pages of my journals.

      I recently started “The Artist’s Way” program so I can answer some of these questions. I think I have always been afraid, and my fear comes in waves.

      Continuing to swim is the hard part, but I’m fully committed. 🙂

      Thank you for the thought-provoking words, and the support. I appreciate it more than you know!

      • I am curious as why you fear comments? I have found sometimes it is the fear of rejection and being excluded or avoided. The fear of who you really are not being enough and left- alone.

        Now I don’t like to address symptoms but get to the heart. Who you are is not enough. It is how we are all created. We are meant not to be enough for each other. Can you imagine the burden! The weight! Why do we try that!?

        You are not able to be that perfect anything and aren’t meant to be. Is there a perfect puzzle piece? No. But there is a piece of the puzzle that fits right where it should. So…

        You are enough. Right now. Who you are. Yes you need and will grow and change. You are a magnificent and beautiful puzzle piece that is so unique and individual. Just like every star is not the same. But One has them all named.

        I hope to share the depth of peace and rest and comfort I have in my soul. I have been through so much though so young and chose to grow and excel and keep going forward.

        You know we say people never define us but really we allow that and have that happen. Association definitely has impact also. But in truth they don’t define our worth and value. You are priceless in essence. You do bear an image whether you agree or not and that immediately gives you worth. Eternal and limitless worth.

        Trust only action. Those comments you fear do not define you but are only evidence of who does not love the real you. You. I am glad to have encouraged you and hope to in the future. You are so very special and I trust you will believe that more and more.

      • I was also thinking about your grief and I am deeply sorry. I know that no words can really fix grief so for that bit I won’t try but I offer to be there for you via email. it2ofakind@gmail.com

        I know in my worst times I just wanted someone there. I really hope I help you in some way. Please feel free to talk.

  2. “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

    Henry David Thoreau

    I think it’s easy to get lost in the “why?” of any creative endeavor because our inner critic keeps demanding more airtime, but fuck that guy. Keep moving forward.

    I love your work.

  3. Hey!!! I think your writing is amazing and very very relateable. I have been meaning to create a blog since forever but finally after 8 months i manages to do so. I hope i can do as good as you.
    I hope your work stays as timeless as the words.

  4. I feel the same way. I write in my blog because the words will just explode inside of me if I did not and thank God for the technology to do it. Sometimes I think I am just writing to myself. Sometimes just to God. Sometimes I think I will get discovered after I am dead, if only by my daughters. Who knows? But none of it matters and I just go day by day. Next year I will have blogged for 10 years. Maybe I should throw a party?

    Keep blogging girl. You are good and have a good voice. It helped me today. Thank you. What you are doinh here is enough.

  5. Best advice no one ever told me: Don’t Let Your Passion Become A Hobby. Who cares what the purpose is (what’s the purpose of anything?), or if anyone ever gives a crass to read it. Are you passionate for it? Do the hell out of it! WOooO!!

    …I like your blog.

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