On Writing and Commitments

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Last month I had an interesting dream that left an impression on me.  I dreamt this guy was in love with me and I with him but that wasn’t the interesting part.  I mean, it was lovely and it gave me a warm feeling upon awakening, but the part that lingers a month later is the responsibility I felt toward this person who loved me.  In the dream and after the dream I felt relieved; not because I was loved but because of my commitment to the person who loved me.  My sense of relief left the impression on me.

Everyone at one point has felt that being loved by another person was the thing they needed to feel whole.  You wait around for someone to give you love, to make you feel loveable.  This dream made me realize that what I’ve been waiting for is my own willingness to commit.  It’s my commitment that brings love and makes you feel loved and whole.

The same willingness to commit is necessary to succeed as a writer.  I always thought that desire, talent, and exposure are what brought someone writing success and the happiness I imagined they would feel as a result. Or people just got lucky.  I don’t believe that anymore.  I think writing success and exposure come from a constantly deepening commitment whether you have talent or not.

The dream revealed that for me, loving someone or being loved isn’t enough for a relationship to thrive. And, actually it’s not where pleasure is found.  It’s found when you make a personal commitment to the relationship or a private agreement with yourself.  The same is true for writing. Desire to be a writer is not enough.  Writing is fun torture and enduring that torture requires commitment.

Writing/blogging became fun and satisfying when I committed to writing/posting three times a week. It forced me to remain open and to pay attention to everything.  It forced me to be more creative and to take more risks.  Not posting isn’t an option and so figuring out what to write becomes a game.  Will I be able to do it?  Will I find the inspiration?  I always do.  W.H. Murray was right:

the moment one definitely commits one-self, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. 

Sometimes the risks I was forced to take because of my dedication to posting 3X a week didn’t work or weren’t well-received.  My commitment to carrying on diminished the effect of those failures.  My commitment is always to the next post or the next 10 posts. I don’t have time to wallow.  When those failures pile up, I deepen my commitment instead of stopping.  I never consider writing less or taking a break.  My commitment won’t allow me to.

I’m attracted to similarly committed people.  I’m comforted by the blogs of committed bloggers.  I now value commitment over talent since I started blogging.  How can I invest time and energy in someone who isn’t willing to commit to regular posting?  I admire dedication more than anything. Are you willing to be held to something?  I love people who are.

Investing in people and ideas is a joy, not a burden.  I love caring about things which is why commitment is such a relief to me.  I get to care as much as I want.  Author Rachel Kadish wrote that “caring passionately about anything…is like poking a giant hole in your life and letting the wind blow everything around.”  A commitment is like having something to hold onto while that’s happening.

Ultimately, committing to writing/blogging/people/anything is really about committing to myself.  Steven Pressfield said it best:

I’m not committed to any specific endeavor.  Not a family or a cause or a field of enterprise.  Not an ideal of service or sacrifice, not an art, not a people or a calling. My commitment is to the spirit inhering within me.

Pay attention to your dreams.

MM

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