The Work that is In Your Heart

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you
where there were only walls.” Joseph Campbell

I hear this advice from so many different writers and teachers, from many different traditions and cultures. The idea is that each of us has something special to contribute, some work that we feel pulled to do, and by doing it, we will feel fulfilled and the world will be enriched. Campbell talks about it as following your bliss. Others say to find your heart’s passion. For many of us here, that passion is writing. Taking those subtle whispers and intuitions, those glimpses out of the corner of our eye that we grab onto, shape, and turn into highly polished stories.

But we allow ourselves to be talked out of following our bliss so easily. It’s not practical, our parents say. Study business or typing (that second one was from the 1950s) so you’ll have something to fall back on. You’ll never make a living doing that. Get a real job so you don’t starve.

Or we fear what we want to write won’t sell. We love vampires, but read in a creative writing text book that vampires are passé (I have such a book on the shelf in my university office) and no one who is a serious writer writes that anyway. We follow trends rather than listen to the story inside us.

Or we let ourselves get distracted. I’ve noticed sometimes in the mornings I’ll do everything else besides write first. Update Quicken, update my Facebook status, check all my email accounts, etc., etc. Sometimes I ignore my inner urgings not to get sidetracked into doing things that eat up time. I get drawn into fights that are not mine really. All this takes time away from doing what I feel passionate about.

Sometimes I remember lost opportunities and feel sad. Like the time a publisher asked me to write a screenplay in a month. It was the end of the semester. There was no way. Now I wish I’d just done it. Who needs to sleep? But I learned from that. More opportunities will arise. As Campbell says, walls will turn into doors. For all of us.

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Author: Theresa Crater

Award-winning author Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations and secret societies back to life in her visionary fiction. In The Star Family, a Gothic mansion holds a secret spiritual group and a 400-year-old ritual that must be completed to save the day. The shadow government search for ancient Atlantean weapons in the fabled Hall of Records in Under the Stone Paw and fight to control ancient crystals sunk beneath the sea in Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Her short stories explore ancient myth brought into the present day. The most recent include “The Judgment of Osiris” and “Bringing the Waters.” Theresa has also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver.

13 thoughts on “The Work that is In Your Heart”

  1. How very true. I was at a library author event and the phrase “then life got in the way” or “then life happened” came up for all four of us. But every day we get a chance to make a change, and that is fantastic. Here’s to open doors!

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  2. So true Theresa. if we are following our bliss, then even if our writing never sells, we are fulfilled by doing it. I have a pewter business card holder that reads ‘if you can dream it you can make it so.’ I’ve kept that next to my writing computer forever as a reminder to stay true to my dreams.

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  3. Love this post! It was terrifically timely for me, too, as I’ve been so unhappy lately, and struggling to put my finger on the issue. But, here it is: I haven’t been writing. I haven’t made time to write, given myself permission to write, to prioritize that oh-so-important to me activity of writing. To keep chasing my dreams. Thank you, Theresa!

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  4. Theresa, so true, so true! I was just talking about this. There were so many reasons why not to try to be a writer at forty, that the really empowering question became, “why can’t you?” All it took was one person who challenged me that way for me to see that maybe I could.

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