Oh look, a draft I started almost five months ago more than a year ago and never finished. Am I so desperate to beef up my archives that I'll publish any half-written piece I find?
Clearly the answer is yes, but I still really like both of these quotes, so hopefully you find value in them, too.
The older I get, the less I believe in coincidences. For example: Last week I broke the blogging silence with musings on finding your yes. I included a cherished Facebook post from Liz Gilbert about knowing when to say no.
So it was a delight, but not a surprise, to come across a two-year-old interview with Cheryl Strayed on Twitter a few days ago about her journey to becoming a writer; specifically, this quote about choosing her passions:
I’ve always had two desires: one is to write and the other is to help people and actually have an impact on the world in a political/social realm. After college, I had a full-time job as a political organizer for this feminist peace group called Woman Against Military Madness, or WAMM. We worked against militarization, but we also worked on anti-racism stuff and all kinds of feminist issues. I remember feeling like the work I was doing was so important. I also did stuff with the Minnesota National Abortion Rights Action League. There was no question that this was valuable work, but what I kept feeling was, “But this isn’t the work I’m here to do. I’m really here to be a writer.”
I made a conscious decision that I couldn’t keep doing these sorts of serious, satisfying jobs and also be a writer. I had to choose to be a writer because that’s what really was in my heart and that was going to be my contribution to the world. In order to do that, I couldn’t also save the world by being a political organizer. I would have to serve the world by being a waitress or something that demanded less of my spirit so that I would have it to write.
Cheryl's book Wild split me into a million pieces of heartbreak and admiration and wonder, and I still haven't quite recovered. So I was happy to see a connection beween two female writers in my (completely one-sided) inner circle.
(Though I worry for my love affair with Cheryl, as the voice behind her website and interviews feels less warm than it did in Wild. It's hard not to imagine her sitting atop of her own pedestal, using phrases like "honing my craft" and looking with disdain at mountains of fan mail because the craft, it awaits!)
And that reminded me of a great piece I read from my other favorite bald marketing guy, Mitch Joel, about his own story of no a few months back:
Upon reflection, it seems like I was looking to unlock different types of new and creative ways to express myself. I read through a lot of this content. I contemplated taking some drawing lessons (as a child, I used to love drawing comics and more). Maybe I would try my hand at magic again (also something I was passionate about as a young person). Then, it hit me. As I explored these new arenas of creativity, I was spending less time writing. I was spending less time thinking about writing. I was spending less time thinking about media, marketing, communications, technology and advertising. I felt like I was losing touch with that side of my life. I was writing my daily blog posts, my contributed articles and thinking about my third business book, but not with the focus, passion and tenacity I had in the past.
So that I don't leave this post completely hanging, I went on to read Cheryl's Tiny Beautiful Things and it about killed me.