If you want to write and be happy doing it, here’s what you must do:
Find a reason to write. A real reason. THE reason.
It’s not enough to have a purpose such as paying the rent, or a magical knowing that you were meant to be a writer, or to be graced with talent, or to have this really great idea for a story. Sorry, but that’s not going to do it. You won’t write. Instead you will distract yourself, complain, and lie (to yourself). Those around you will see plainly that though you proclaim your love of writing, you are more likely to be found reheating your chai tea, paging through a book of baby names because your protagonist’s name doesn’t feel right, cheating with disavowed social media, and possibly donning boots to pooper-scooper your back yard.
But, you insist, you love to write! Forgive your family and friends, but they may entertain skepticism. It’s okay. It’s not your fault you’re not writing. There’s something you didn’t realize. You need your soul on board, and it’s not.
Here’s the thing. Your soul doesn’t agree to write just because you believe that you have something you really want to say—a message to communicate. That is, however, a great beginning. What is so critical, and what will light up your soul such that it flat won’t matter if rejection emails are shredding your hopes and dreams, is CLARITY.
Clarity has to do with you, the real you, your deepest soul, your experience, your worldview. Once you truly, really and truly, KNOW what the most important thing for you to give the world is, you will write. You will write what your soul must communicate. What’s great is you’ll also find the sparkle in your life.
And Life does sparkle, or is meant to. Wake up your soul, people. This matters whether you’re a writer or not, by the way. After all, when you go digging in your soul for clarity on what you have to give to the world, who knows what you may find? You may discover a new path you want to take. And yes, new paths usually appear to lead to dark scary woods like in The Wizard of Oz, so you’re really going to need that light of clarity to show the way and bolster your courage. I’m assuming you have no man in a lion-suit to do it for you. Remember it’s okay to be curious and try out all kinds of different paths, just so long as you’re honoring your clarity. That’s a responsible life. A happy life.
But back to writing. Your soul may be here to communicate something like Quit taking life so seriously and laugh! when you write a novel about a woman’s birthing of twins during her boss’s dream wedding on a yacht. Or perhaps your deepest heart wants to trigger change in the world through a sci-fi story in which humanity undergoes an evolution of consciousness. I would read that, so please write it if you have it in you. Or your soul may be urging you to get on with the writing of: What’s with Weeding? Thoughts on Non-Violent and Inclusive Gardening.
None of these examples is more important than another; there is no way to judge literature as worthy or unworthy, much less as worth writing. Once you are clear, very clear, on what your soul wants to communicate, you will experience the energy to write and finally let go of insecurities about getting an agent, reader reviews, criticism from family, or success as measured by best-seller lists or the delightful increase of retirement investment accounts.
Of course you want readers—but not for the sake of success of yourself or your book. You desire readers for the joy of giving what your soul wants to give, whether that’s a thrill, a laugh, an epiphany, a good cry, an awareness, a challenge. If you’re writing from your soul, the writing is worthy. Period. Don’t live or die according to who your publisher is or how you’re rated on Amazon. We are interconnected, and your joy in writing, your fun in writing, your personal evolution through writing—benefits us all in unseen ways.
So if you feel frustrated or disappointed or overwhelmed or bored with writing—get clear.
I’ve got some homework to help with this. Whether or not you’re a writer, type or scrawl what comes to your mind when you ask yourself these questions:
How can I best love myself? How can I best love my family?
What do I need to know or have? What do the ones I love most need to know or have? What does the world need to know or have?
What will help make the world a happier place?
What is unique about me that the world could use?
How do I need to change? What change would benefit the world?
Take your time with the questions. Allow yourself space for some deep thoughts which may be serious or not. Most of all, be honest with yourself.
To thine own self be true, Shakespeare wrote. That’s all you ever have to do. This was his famed advice, and he was a pretty good writer.