I recently heard the following quote: “if you really want to do something you’ll find a way, if you really don’t, you’ll find an excuse”. It struck me because I thought of a number of things that I thought I had wanted to do, but never actually done – or started, but never finished. For a long while, I’ve wanted to write, but things seem to keep getting in the way; I will jot down a few thoughts here and there, but lack the habitual practice of consistent writing every day that I crave. So, I began to think about it a little more. If I really wanted to write, why wasn’t I writing? Why was I finding excuses, letting other things take precedence over something I thought I’d made a priority?
I think of writing as something for me, a practice I do almost wholly for myself, rather than anyone else – an opportunity to process my thoughts, empty the clutter, and through creativity, to be free. For so much of my life, I’ve tried to do things for others – and part of me truly enjoyed it, but another part of me felt compelled to do it, guilty if I didn’t. I pushed myself to the point of being overwhelmed with the need to do things – to please people, to help people… I sacrificed my own health and happiness over and over again for things I didn’t want – not bad things, and that’s where it got confusing. Volunteering, coaching, tutoring, visiting, assisting – in and of themselves none of those are “bad” per se, but something doesn’t have to be “wrong” on the scale of good vs. evil to be “not right” for a person. My boyfriend – who is wiser than he realizes sometimes – prompts me from time to time with the question “What do you want to do?”. Sure, sometimes it’s in an offhand “hey, what do you wanna do this evening?” kind of way, but generally when he says it he emphasizes the intention rather than the action – “What do you want to do?”. He pushes me to really think, to question my motives, my desires, and calls me to look deeper inside myself and find my truth.
I say I want to be a writer, but why? I don’t just want to put words on the page for the sake of doing it. I want to change the world. I want to inspire – to get people to ponder things they might not have considered, to expose people to others’ perspectives in a productive way; I want to process my own internal thoughts, feelings, and emotions, to learn from myself and my experiences. Admittedly, I want my work, effort, perspective, and creativity to be appreciated and valued – mentally and financially; I want to use writing as a way to support the causes I hold near to my heart. But I wonder, does that means to an end way of thinking detract from the act and art of writing itself, or am I “beginning with the end in mind” in a productive way, effectively applying one of the habits of highly effective people?
When I decided to write the blog, it was because I wanted to find a way to get in a regular habit of writing. Maybe I need to slow myself down a bit, not get carried away putting that proverbial cart before the horse and just worry about writing – weekly, daily, regularly. And if I do, I’m sure other things will come in time.