“Write what you love.” It seems like simple advice. It probably is, but people have a way of complicating the simplest things.
Some people know what they love and immediately pursue it, but an equal number of people know what they love, then forget. They have to have that love brought to remembrance. Others simply struggle to discover what they love. They might enjoy the thrill of chasing a thing, or they might be afraid of committing to a thing. The end result almost always is the same regardless of the motivation; they become weary because they have little to no sense of direction. They find themselves wandering aimlessly.
Of course, not all who wander are lost.¹ Wandering sometimes can lead to finding. For me, it took wandering through the lands of writing about subjects that held little interest to me (except, perhaps, in my ability to enter almost any conversation and to surprise people with my knowledge of the housing market or computer viruses) to find one of my loves, which is writing about being a writer and the writing life. It took taking a detour into social media land in order to know that social media wasn’t and isn’t one of my loves. Do I enjoy talking about it? Certainly, but I don’t like having to worry about testing the latest social network or trying to get ahead of the social media curve. It took completing a silly drawing project (Bacon badges, anyone?) to remember that the visual arts play a vital role in my understanding of what it means to be a communicator. Could I have found those loves without the wandering? Maybe, but I don’t know that I would recognize how dear those things are to me. I don’t know if I would hear the call to write about those things quite as loudly.
That being said, I also know it’s easy to get lost in that wandering. I didn’t come to the end of my wandering without some help. I had professors who guided me. I spoke with a business consultant who helped me to define what it is that I love and want to do. I talked with a friend who helped me to see my art as an essential piece of my communications. I talked with another friend who suggested I showcase rather than hide my poetry roots. I’m certain I subconsciously knew those things were and are my loves, but I still needed help in realizing that I needed to pursue and write about those things.
What are your loves? Do you have someone who helps you to remember those loves when you forget them or become distracted by other things?
¹ If you haven’t realized this fact already, you now know: I’m a little bit of a Tolkien fan.