Passion vs. Distraction

by The Beardly Writer

From the very beginning I’ve felt under-qualified to write this blog. The life of a writer. What do I know about the life of a writer? What do I know about life, really? I’ve done a few things, been to a few places, seen a few things… And that makes me an expert? Someone with authority on the subject who expects others to learn from my wisdom? There’s only one kind of life I know anything about: my own. My life. And the useful things I know about it could fill the space between the liquid and the bottle cap in an unopened bottle of beer. The most useful thing I could tell you is to drink the beer before it gets warm. 

So what? I’ve griped and moaned about blogging and writing and life since staking claim to my own tiny corner of the internet last year. What have I learned? Has anybody learned anything? I hate false humility and I’d hate to think I’m guilty of that now. I also hate whiners. I don’t want to fill this post with complaining. And I’d like to think I’m not. What I am, as I’ve mentioned before, is introspective. To a fault. The size of San Andreas. I’ve swallowed whole cities in my effort to self-analyze. And to the relief of all the families lost, I’ve come away with some good data. But that’s often where it ends. Remember in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, when Alice gets lost in the forest? She sings a song: “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.” Ditto.

I want this blog to be useful. I want to write useful things. Because it means I’m learning, too. When I use this space to complain, I’m wasting my time and yours. I wasted this whole last week. I thought about my book a lot, but didn’t add a single word to it. WASTE. One week wasted. There’s only 52 of those in a year, you know. 2014 just began and I start it by wasting 1/52 of it. Gone. If I could offer one piece of advice this week, it’s don’t waste time! You want to be a writer, then write dammit! If you aren’t writing, if you don’t look forward to it, if you habitually find reasons to avoid it or put it off, there might be a problem. You might not be a writer. I’m realizing something about passion. There are many things to be passionate about in this life. Some people are lucky: their passions are directly beneficial. It earns them income, for example. Other passions must be steered toward it. Molded, hammered, bent, twisted, refashioned into something that benefits. Maybe your passion is playing video games and eating Cheetos on the couch. Find a way to make that passion work to your advantage. But maybe, just maybe, that isn’t your passion, but your distraction.

There is a fine line between passion and distraction. Many people spend much more time on their favorite distractions than their passions. Are you trading one for the other? There’s nothing wrong with distraction. In fact it can be a useful tool in the writer’s toolbox. But are you sacrificing your passion in favor of your distraction? Distractions come easy and give immediate gratification. Passion takes hard work and dedication, and may take years, even decades to pay off. But when it does, you’ll wonder why you ever settled for the distraction. Don’t settle. Don’t settle for good when great is still out there. If you continually give into distraction, you might not have found your passion. Or you might be afraid of it. Either way, don’t waste another day. Face it. Deal with it. Own it. Find your passion. And if you’ve already found it, revel in it. Spread it on your face like war paint and don’t back down. Dress yourself up in it and hit the town. Be your passion, not your distraction. Be your passion.