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I have made a few valiant attempts to make a living almost exclusively as a technical writer in different capacities. I was given a topic, some keywords to include for search engine optimization, and a deadline that always left me panicked.
I was at least grateful to be able to make some money from home, but I quickly realized how the joy of writing I had known in my youth was quickly turning into a kind of painful drudgery that is so common in today's marketplace.
The basic problem with many types of commercial writing is they essentially turn people into computer programs or machines. Input comes in, it gets interpreted, and the output gets returned (Garbage in, slightly more refined garbage out).
A great analogy is a creative visual artist that takes a job where they are required to paint very specific graphics for advertisers. The artist has a certain impulse or vision about what to draw or paint, but monetary restrictions create a very limited form of expression.
What I learned in terms of writing is that, like any form of art, it must include the heart. Cringe-worthy clichés aside, people are craving the ability to express themselves freely and be able to monetarily succeed while doing so. We can all think of our favorite authors who were able to make it big creatively. What we don't see is the hours of blood, sweat, and tears that they invested behind the scenes before their big break.
We writers must be motivated by passion and love alone. As soon as I think of money or prestige, my writing is sure to suffer.
It has never been easier to make a living doing pretty much anything we want to do, but the paradox is that we can't fall into "means to an end," type thinking.
What do you love to do? What activities do you look forward to when you have time off from what you "have" to do? As we emphasize our passions and give the time and dedication needed to hone our skills we will eventually shift into a mode where our work and our play merge into one.
We are so used to psychologically falling into different ways of thinking that limit our creativity and ability to truly enjoy life. Seeing artists of any kind that have truly "made it" can elicit a lot of envy or jealousy. Lately, I have been seeing the success of others as inspiration and as a reminder that I too can achieve my own dreams.
Vocal and other platforms give us the means to practice the art of writing and promote ourselves. Whenever I find myself looking at my view count and how much money I have made, I remind myself that the point is to simply enjoy the process.
Expressing ourselves is its own reward. Every time we authentically let our hearts out in the form of the written word or other medium, we benefit ourselves and humanity as a whole.
The world has been starved of creativity for a long time. Our modern world has been left-brain dominant and is long overdue to come back into balance. Doing things as a means to an end is the epitome of the left-brain society. Doing things for the sheer joy of them is where the intuitive right-brain truly shines.
Creativity is the merging and healing of the apparent divide within us. Anyone who has ever done journaling as a therapeutic process can attest to the power of pouring our heart out onto a page, whether real or virtual.
The world wants to know us and our uniqueness. Conformity for the sake of commerce has been the way of survival in the past generations. We are approaching a pinnacle of human potential where our hearts' true desires can no longer be ignored; it may well be necessary for our very survival in a metaphysical or spiritual sense.
There is no putting our passions on a backburner. They will come out in one way or another- it is up to us to give them a space to flourish.
If your heart says to write, right on! If it is prompting you to paint, draw, compose, or play music or anything else, just know that now is the time. Cultivate your craft as often as you can, a little bit every day. Your heart will thank you every time you do.