Follow Your Bliss
Recently, I spent the entire day doing background work on a fabulous new series: creating settings and the rules of the realm, characters and developing plot lines. I love those days because the flush of enthusiasm burns like a welcome fire, the interest level is sky high and focus is tight–so tight that the mind is snapping with possibilities: Oh, oh, include this! Ouch, forget that–oh, wait, what about this? Give it a shot—take the risk! See where it goes—oh-oh, what if this happens? Dang. Hit a wall, a mud puddle, a panacea!
The birth of fiction is energizing on a writer and that makes it energizing on a book. On a series, it’s like live wires cracking and whipping in a storm, zapping the writer like her nerves are on the outside of her skin. Everything is experienced intensely, felt deeply. And the writer rides the ups and lows, stumbles and crawls, soars through the full-throttle breadth of creation. And to feel those flutters and eventually that warm glow that lets one know s/he is definitely onto something special. It’s an awesome experience. Exhausting and heady and rewarding.
Backside to leather requires discipline, and on warm, sunny days, it can be hard-won discipline. So immersing in this polar opposite of unbridled creative energy is a wonderful experience on its own–and a perfect balance to the disciplinarian.
The difference? Loving what you do. Whether you write or do something entirely different, if you do what you love, you experience that same untethered enthusiasm and zest for what you’re doing. (Secret: that’s a sign that you’re on your right path in life.)
By the time I stopped working that night, I felt as if I’d run a marathon—totally drained. I fully expected that when I shut down and relaxed, my mind would continue to whirl for hours. It often does. But what actually happened surprised me.
My mind didn’t whirl. Instead, my mind was calm–and on a different, though related, topic. And that was on analysis and how much time we (meaning you and me—the human beings and not you and me, the writers) spend analyzing everything. So much time that too often we don’t have time to experience life!
We think about what happened, why it happened, how it happened, who made it happen and why, and who it happened to, why it happened to them specifically. We think of all the other people indirectly impacted and how they were impacted, and what will trigger it happening again–if it can happen again—and, if it can’t, why it can’t and if that can be altered. Or how to keep it from happening again, who’d have to do what to make sure a repeat was stopped and the consequences avoided… See what I mean?
I’m not saying analysis isn’t valuable, it is. But it’s like anything in excess, it’s, well, too much, and we lose the good in it under the weight of the excess. If we are moderate, we know what we need to know and we are content with that, then we have more time to actually live life rather than be distracted from it by excess analysis or anything else.
It happened. Does it matter why? Will it change circumstances to know why? If so, explore the reasons. If not, live instead.
It doesn’t pay to rehash the past for the sake of rehashing it. If you’re paralyzed on forward mobility because of the past, then revisit it. But get what you need and then get back to forward momentum because each day spent dwelling on the past is a day spent not living in the present with an eye toward the future. Days such as that cannot be recaptured or regained.
I thought about this for a long time that night. And I thought of all the events I’ve rehashed in my mind time after time–good events and bad ones–and what a waste of life that rehashing really was. Memories are great, but to have them you have to make them. And if you’re stuck rehashing the past, well, the only memories you’re making are memories of memories. Living life has so much more to offer!
The next morning, I awakened and this ran through my mind again–analysis or life–only this time, the thought was about what religions and philosophers throughout time have said on the subject. I had to smile. Had I thought of this topic in this context first, the answers were there waiting for me. But there is good that comes in working through something in your mind until you explore it fully and determine what you think about it, and in your mind, resolve it–provided you’re not avoiding a solution because it requires an action you don’t want to take. That’s avoidance, pure and simple, and you always come out on the losing end in that.
Joseph Campbell, bless him, nailed it in short order. “Follow your bliss.”
I am smiling here. Follow your bliss kind of sums it all up and punctuates the point with a bright red bow.
If you do that–follow your bliss–you’re going to be spending a lot more time loving what you do and living, and a lot less time analyzing that which changes nothing.
Living or changing nothing . . .?
Easy choice, yes. Definitely, follow your bliss…❖
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© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest releases are: The Marked Star and In Case of Emergency: What You Need to Know When I Can’t Tell You (nonfiction). She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. KNOW IT FIRST! Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!