May 7, 2012

Should Do vs. Driven To Do

The amazing driftwood teepee that, sadly, is no more.

I have been so absent from the blog this month. A part of me has missed it, but another part of me didn't like the fact that it was starting to fall into the dreaded category of something I really "should be doing". 

Having lived an oddly nomadic, sporadic, all-over-the-place lifestyle for the last year or so, I've had a lot of time to think about the difference between the things you think you should be doing versus the things you feel driven to do. There are always things that you should be doing (paying taxes, say...or brushing your teeth). But to me, those are things you have to do. I'm talking about when the things you once loved to do start to feel like obligations. When a job you were excited by becomes an obligation. When this happens to me, it always seems like an ominous feeling. I don't ever do my best work when I come to it begrudgingly: a part of me is wondering why I'm doing it at all. Of course, just because something isn't inspiring you, doesn't mean you should stop doing it. I'm pretty sure bosses don't think "I'm just not feeling motivated and inspired today" is a good enough reason to skip out on work. I'm pretty sure that it doesn't get novels finished, either. 

Still, I recently read Stephen King's On Writing and was stuck by something he said. “They pay me absurd amounts of money,” he observes, “For something that I would do for free”. I think when something you started for fun starts to feel like an obligation, it's starting to lose its point and purpose. Maybe it's time to spend time away from it, to let it become a thing you feel inspired to do. If there's anything I've learned this year, it's that passion and conviction are necessary to make any part of your life thrive, and that "should do" and "driven to do" should overlap as often as possible.

Here are some of the things I've been doing, and that I'm still excited about:

1. I took a week-long Southern road trip with one of my oldest, dearest, craziest friends.
2. Signed a teaching contract.
3. Found an awesome place to move this summer.
4. Made many cards and envelopes out of old book pages/illustrations and started on online Etsy shop.
5. Made dinners and toasted glasses of wine with amazing friends, old and new.
6. Watched my brother graduate.
7. Wrote almost 30,000 words of my new WIP, currently known as UndergroundNovel.  
 8. Taking pictures of Mom's local woods and beach as they get dressed for summer.

Current song obsession: From The Woods!! by James Vincent McMorrow 

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