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?