Today, I serendipitously uncovered a book by Jeff Goins about writing. It’s a free eBook that can be found when you register for his free webinar. Unfortunately, I missed the webinar, but I was still able to obtain the book after registering, and you might be able to do the same.
As I read it, I was struck by how much of what he talks about: falling back in love with writing, getting discouraged, making the art the “support system,” is the very things that have been on my mind lately. I’ve even written about some of them in this very blog.
The first half of the book is mostly motivational and anecdotal, while the second half is mostly practical. I haven’t quite gotten to the second half yet, but I know he goes into starting a blog, building a platform, and the other essentials of becoming a successful writer, in depth. I’d highly recommend it for anyone who is trying to build a life doing what she loves.
The thing that hit me was how he writes about how most serious artists, musicians, and writers reach a point where they kind of wish they could throw in the towel, start anew, and leave this whole artist thing behind. Incidentally, this was a discussion I and a roommate were having just last night on the front porch stoop. His expression of wanting to be a “history teacher” and live somewhere in the mountains of Colorado, reminded me of my own imaginative alternatives that I’ve often articulated in periods of frustration. In one such time, speaking with another friend, I remember declaring, “Why can’t I just be a liver?”
Reading about this same issue through the pen of Goins, I felt a mild sense of relief that these feelings are entirely normal for anyone who’s been doing this shit for a while. It doesn’t make me a bad musician to have thoughts of giving up. It would, however, make me a non-musician if I actually did give up. And, as Goins writes, “What you do next, though, is what forms your character.”
Which reminds me of a passage from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand:
“Francisco, what’s the most depraved type of human being?”
“The man without a purpose.”
Have you ever had times when you thought of “throwing in the towel”? How would you say your responses to those times shaped the person you are now?
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