9/13/11

Pursue Your Passions

“I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly.”
-Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (pg. 62).

Whenever I broach the subject of the professional world, Dr. Mom P.h.D. advises, “I tell my patients to follow what they’re passionate about. If you’re enthusiastic about what you do, you’ll be successful.”

I was lucky. Long before I graduated from Colby College as an English / Creative Writing major, my parents (Mary Jo Wilson PhD & James K. Wilson LCSW) embedded this lesson in their every encouragement, question, and reflection. Ceramic sculptures piled our bookcases, paintings adorned our walls, and writings—be they journal entries, scripts, short stories, songs, or portions of novels—were read aloud in our living room. We smiled when our family dog showed up, chasing after Mom, in a screenplay, and held our stomachs when, in scene two, a quirky older sister appeared, brandishing a Wanga doll and a paintbrush. During these moments, writing wasn’t a selfish pursuit that holed me up in my bedroom, it was something shared and embraced.
My urban writer's perch.
This open forum, nurtured by my parents, allowed Nikki and I to explore what made us happy. Reflecting upon our childhood, it’s unsurprising that we both ended up in the arts, with Nikki painting  and I writing.

I pursued English lit. and creative writing at college because writing nourished me. Whether debating Kafka in class, editing articles for The Echo, writing short stories, or outlining my next paper, I felt buoyed by a sense internal fulfillment. With that feeling, I returned to New York to pursue a career in book publishing whilst writing the young-adult series that began as my honors thesis with professor Debra Spark.
A neighbor's clever (& relevant) statement.
The buoyancy I feel on a good writing day is fuel for the next day. No, I don’t always love going to bed at 9:30pm on a weekday to wake up at 6:30am the next, but without that routine, I would abandon the satisfaction that writing affords. Just this morning, I felt an unmatched contentment when, for the first time in a week, my muse sat quietly beside me, my Monkey Mind stilled, and edits flowed from my fingers.

I’m constantly amazed by people who pursue what they love, but not everyone has discovered what that is. On slow writing days, even I question what my primary passion is. Is sitting at my desk, swatting flies, and checking Facebook really fulfilling? Well, no its not. But perhaps the next day, when inspiration comes, writing will be.

Here are two articles that I found really helpful about assessing your passions and setting your life goals:

“How to Tune In to the Voice Within” by Martha Beck

“Do You Need a Five-Year Plan?” by Erin Zammett Ruddy

A painting my sister, Nikki Wilson, finished of me as a little kid in goggles.




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