Monday, February 22, 2016

Writing Lab: Head Versus Heart

Prompt: "What do you think is more important for getting things done: passion or steadfastness?" 

For me personally, it all depends on what I'm trying to accomplish. I draw upon completely different personal resources when I'm pursuing something practical than I do when I'm expressing myself or working toward a personal goal.

When it comes to the personal stuff, it's all about passion. Passion is the only thing in those cases that really keeps me going. I have to feel excited about what I'm doing in my heart. I have to be so into it that I find it hard to go to sleep at night because my brain can't stop chewing on ideas and looking forward to the next step.

I'm a creative person through and through, so the whole "make yourself work on your art" approach doesn't really do it for me. When I'm not in the zone as far as something creative I'm working on, the quality of the work just isn't there. Literally every single time I've generated something truly artful and inspired, it came from passion and passion alone. I don't care if we're talking about a painting I did, a blog post I wrote, or an especially inspired dinner menu I came up with.

Staying active creatively for me feels a lot like surfing. You can't surf if the waves really aren't there. What you can do is make sure you're at the beach on the days when you know the waves are going to be perfect and promptly seize the opportunity when you see it approaching. Art and creative writing for me are all about waiting for those creative waves to roll in and making sure I have my surfboard handy when they do. I can't wait until later. I need to ride the waves while they're present, because "later", they most likely won't still be there.

In other areas of my life, steadfastness is much more useful. Case in point, my professional copywriting career. I want to be successful at what I do, but I can't honestly say I feel any passion for my job. That's why developing good work habits and making sure I stay the course is so important in those areas. Once something becomes a habit, I can keep rolling with it even if it doesn't really float my boat on a deeper level. That's how I've managed to make my business everything that it is despite the fact that I don't really have that strong a work ethic.

Steadfastness wasn't really something that ever came naturally to me the way passion maybe did. I've had to work hard to cultivate it in myself. and I think I've done a reasonably good job. I'm probably not as successful financially or professionally as I could be if I were actually a more driven person, but I do pretty well for myself regardless -- much better than I ever pictured myself doing, that's for sure. I owe all that to steadfastness and discipline.