So, last night, I guess it finally happened. It happened when I least expected it, but where I most expected it. In the wee hours of the morning, as I was getting ready to go to sleep, I finally had the sort of epiphany I’ve been consciously waiting months, and unconsciously years, to have.
I am a writer. This is what I am supposed to be doing. It’s not the only thing I can do, and it sure as hell might not be the most lucrative thing I can do, but it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I now don’t have any doubt about this.
Like any eye-opening realization, it appears obvious on its face immediately after it comes to mind. I love communicating. I love talking (comments to yourselves, folks). I love feeling and I love making people feel. I unwittingly answered the ubiquitous question “what would you be doing if you didn’t need to make money?” by doing exactly this when I didn’t need to make money.
I realized I can make people cry with the words I write; I can make people laugh by the stories I tell. Maybe because I knew I could do that I didn’t think much of it – but I am now cognizant of just how lucky I am to have that ability. I guess I’m not yet sure that everyone has a purpose, everyone has a reason to be here – but if we do, then this is mine.
It makes each day full of possibilities and new ideas. Every day is a chance to make someone’s day better, to make someone think, to make someone feel. That is all the intrinsic motivation I need, and it makes the “work” easy. It’s the “do what you love and you won’t work another day in your life” cliché in practice.
In their quiet hours, alone with their thoughts, everyone wants to change the world. Even if it’s just a little bit, everyone wants to leave their mark. I think some people find that satisfaction through their jobs, some through raising their kids, and some people find their own unique way. It is clear to me now, this is my way. I’ve been blessed/cursed with a slightly skewed way of seeing the world, and the best thing I can do with it, now, is share it with others. I needed to find a way to blend what I do every day with a greater sense of purpose, and this is how I do that. It might not be the next great American novel, but if it’s a hearty laugh, a phone call to a parent, or a tear and a memory, that’s all I need to consider it a success.
I’m well aware of the massive gap between enjoying writing, and even being good at writing, and actually making money being a writer. I understand that even if I do have any innate talent for this, it’s going to take lots of work and lots of luck to turn it in to a means of supporting myself. It’s entirely possible – unfortunately, it’s likely – that I will have to take a “normal” job at some point to pay the bills. If and when I do, I will remain a writer first, and anything else second. From here on out, I determine what I am, and I do what I need to do to keep that going.
I have no idea what the next step is – all I know is the What has been replaced by the How. That’s exciting and scary at the same time, but it’s something that will work itself out one way or another. It has to.