I’ve realized there are two kinds of people in this world: those in it for the journey, and those in it for the destination. I know, you hear it a lot, but have you actually realized which of these YOU are?
If you’re more the ‘destination’ oriented person, you probably shouldn’t become a writer. I’ve discovered that writing is about evolving. Going through scenes like phases in adolescence constantly changing, highly emotional, combative, and potentially scar-inducing. An ugly roller coaster. But writing provides moments of enlightenment that are supposed to make you better, broaden your imagination and strengthen your skills. And as long as you value the lessons you learn along the tumultuous path of writing, and not really care whether or not you get published, then you’ll be successful.
But if you think being published is the only way you’ll be successful, i.e Destination driven, you may end up disastrously depressed. Or at the very least disappointed and disgruntled. Almost feel like you’ve been ripped off.
And I realized something else, too. I’ve gone through most of my life as a Destination Oriented person. Making the class, making the grade, making the degree, making the meet, earning certain scores/awards, making quotas, milestones, etc, on and on, so on and so forth. There’s always been a mile marker to reach or goal line at the end of the field. (Metaphorically, obviously I never played football). And with every ‘destination’ reached, I’ve felt accomplished and that my life has been meaningful.
I’ve always enjoyed writing through school years and into adulthood. But this last year has been primarily focused on writing (writing as my profession, that is, although I’ve never earned a dime from it). Hence, I learn that writing is definitely Journey oriented. To which they measure success on an entirely different stick. So when I set goals for myself when I first started this past year and having to reach certain milestones, and thereby NOT reaching them, I feel like a failure. I start to doubt myself, call myself a horrible writer, not worth a lick, and blah blah blah. (I’ve always been my own worst critic.) I don’t like to be a glutton for punishment. But I don’t like thinking that I’m not good at something. I don’t have to be great, I don’t have to be the best, but I at least want to feel that I’m GOOD at something.
Why else would I bother my time with something? You want to spend your life, your precious time (that you don’t have much of on this Earth) doing something meaningful, valuable, and productive? So when I don’t reach my goals, or am seriously delayed in crossing a milestone, there’s an itch in the back of my mind that makes me think is this right for me? Am I failing those I love who’ve supported me in this endeavor?
And then I step out of my ridiculous ‘destination’ shoes and BACK UP. I go to the people I love, the ones I respect, and they force me to ask the RIGHT questions.
Do I love to write?…………….. Hell yes.
Have I learned something? ………… Hell yes.
Do I want to continue?…………. Well, yeah.
Will I disappoint anyone by stopping?….. No.
Will I disappoint anyone by writing?….. No. (At least, not the ones I love.)
And my answer was blatantly obvious. I haven’t failed at anything. And because I love to write, and constantly try to make myself better, I can call myself a writer. And so I put on my ‘Journey’ shoes.
People love to call themselves ‘Journey’ people when its crystal blue skies and beautiful green countrysides. But change to ‘Destination’ people when they run into dark and winding roads, so they can keep hope that there’s something meaningful at the end of the tunnel. Either way, you have to wear the right shoes.
And what do ya know, you can be both a journey and destination person at the same time. It’s chaotic at times, painful even, but its doable. Even enjoyable. But only by those who can pull off the look. Can you?
Happy Memorial Day everyone, and keep writing forward!