Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. - Henry David Thoreau
There have been a lot of posts about burnout lately. Writers falling out of love with blogging, feeling overwhelmed by the marketing demands of today's publishing climate, and frustrated by the state of their careers. While I have not been among those that have posted, I have felt every one of these feelings over the last year. So much so, that I nearly walked away from writing all together.
See, I have been struggling with my feelings related to writing fiction. My nonfiction career is good – the books are selling at a consistent rate, people continue to enjoy the message, and more than anything, the books are helping others. I have some great friends in the non-fiction world. We support each other fully in both our professional and writing lives. All of my nonfiction goals are being met.
Fiction has been a rockier road. I continue to be inspired, but the road is harder for me in every way. More than once I ask if this is my purpose – should I continue to write fiction. More than once I know the answer is yes.
Which brings me to the point of this post.
I had to take a step back in order to gain some objectivity to my career and the demands on my time. I had to come clean with myself about many things, committing to releasing the toxic and embracing the new. The journey has resulted in a new focus for my other blog, An Intense Life. It has also resulted in a renewal of a commitment I made to myself five years ago when I started down this path...
A commitment to keep the focus on my writing and my creative process.
Someone once told me that this particular creative endeavor will challenge everything you think you know about yourself. It’ll awaken you to your own inner demons, surface the doubt that has long lingered in the shadows and expose the toxic elements in your life...
If you are willing to open your eyes and see.
I’ve spent a lot of time determining how I want my path to go. And at least for now I am content, knowing that I am traveling in the direction of my dreams.
Thoreau once said "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." As artists, it is imperative that we listen to the music of our hearts, follow the path we feel in our soul and dare to go it alone when necessary.
Burnout and frustration are never easy feelings. But they are beautiful calls to action, reminders that we all need to take a moment to take stock, find our footing, and forge our own path.