I often listen to books when I'm making the hour drive to the gym, and recently, I heard this quote:
"Who you are is defined by what you are willing to struggle for." **
I re-wound (I still listen to books on "tape" in my mind) and listened to the quote again. Well, I thought, laughing to myself, then one thing is absolutely clear to me.
I am a writer.
As much as I enjoy writing, I struggle with it. But putting my words down on metaphorical paper is important to me for a litany of reasons - it was how I found my voice over the years, and how I still find my voice. It’s how I coach and teach. It’s hopefully how I entertain sometimes. I’ve taken classes upon classes to try to perfect the craft, but the process is still a struggle, especially as I push myself to take more risks.
In 2017, I pitched an article to the website Girls Gone Strong, determined to try and publish outside of my little blog, and my pitch was accepted.
Then, I let the project slide through my hands. Even though I was pitching an article on a subject I know well, I kept writing and re-writing and bumping up against self-doubt. And I let the article fall through.
Hence the reason that I can somehow get a blog post out of writing a blog post (or article more correctly).
Until August of this year, when a good friend of mine who also contributes to the site brought it back up to me. And after a few months of struggle and lots of encouragement, the article was published last week.
I get plenty of encouraging feedback about my writing - and chances are if you're reading this, it's because you have at some point enjoyed some of what I write. Thank you for that.
And as much as I enjoyed the feeling of finishing the article and finally seeing a writing project through to completion, I think I enjoy the challenge just as much as the finish line. Not always…I mean I get crazy frustrated sometimes.
But for the most part, I’m willing to struggle for my writing. Because it’s important. Because it’s the one thing that has always called to me. Sometimes I feel tortured by it. But I’m also weirdly gratified by it.
We know that happiness doesn’t come after success. We aren’t suddenly happy if we hit our goal weight or land our dream job with our dream salary. If we are, the happiness is short lived. I enjoyed seeing my article published for a short period of time before I took a deep breath and thought well, what’s next?
It’s not that we shouldn’t savor the moments of success. We need to take a sacred pause and acknowledge our achievements. But if we can’t find some satisfaction in the struggle, well, maybe we need to pick something else for which we want to struggle.
This same author also talked about trading problems - I traded the problem of working 70 hours a week at a job I didn’t love for the problem of driving an hour each way to work - but also having more time to sit down and write.
So right now, I am very grateful for this particular struggle.
** The book is the Art of Not Giving a **** by Mark Manson