About Me

Discover Your Passion: Is It Really Possible to do What You Love?

Many articles are available to help people discover their passion. I seem to be drawn to this advice, wondering if this particular article will have a suggestion that’s different from anything else I’ve heard. One thing that comes up over and over again is: “Think back to what you loved to do as a child.”

When I was growing up, I loved to write. It’s what I did when I wasn’t playing with my two sisters or reading (and re-reading) as many books as I possibly could. (I was homeschooled and lived in a rural area, so entertainment options were limited.) I would color my coloring books as quickly as possible so I could make up my own stories to go along with the pictures. I would then read that story to my mom and sisters as they turned the pages. When I got older, I wrote longhand in notebooks; I pecked out stories on my dad’s typewriter, carefully covering any typing mistakes with a dab of correction fluid.

I was still writing stories when I reached my early teens. By that time, my favorite part of the process was setting up the cast of characters; I would typically only write 5-10 pages of the actual story before I got bored and moved on to a new story line. I always fashioned the main character — always female — into an idealized version of the person I wanted to be (beautiful, rich, talented, with an extensive wardrobe of clothes that weren’t available to me in real life) instead of the person I actually was at the time (average looking, not wealthy, not talented in any stand-out way).

I believe my short attention span when it came to writing stories was exactly why I embraced blogging ten years later. I don’t write fiction anymore. Blogging taught me it was okay to write a few paragraphs about whatever I wanted and move on to something completely new. Suddenly I found myself writing about me and my life; not the fictionalized character I thought I wanted to be when I was a child. At some point I realized that my life, my thoughts, and my reactions to things, were enough. I am enough.

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For most of my life, I never thought of myself as creative in the traditional sense. I thought creativity meant creating physical things. I had no talent for drawing, painting, knitting, or anything crafty in general — and no interest in learning. But now I understand that writing is creative. I’m creating something new whenever I write. Even if my sentiment echoes a topic which has already been written about extensively by other people, the way I string words together will always be different than how it has been said before.

Of all the full-time jobs I’ve had since I was 18 years old, I’ve never had one in which I felt creative. Out of necessity, most workplaces are made up of procedures and rules, standards of time-in and time-out, specific hours and breaks, dress codes, performance measures and goals.

I’m not doing what I loved to do as a child. I believe this is why I have never felt fulfilled at any of my full-time jobs.

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For three years, BlogHer.com paid me to write for them. It was a fair rate and I enjoyed doing it. I liked the satisfaction of hitting the Publish button and getting feedback (as I still do).

I stopped writing for BlogHer for a variety of reasons, but when I read that post again after almost a year, I realized I left something out: A big reason why I quit BlogHer was because I no longer wanted to work the extra hours it required. I already had a full-time, 40-45 hours per week (not counting commuting time) job, and the salary I was making from my day job was sufficient. I decided I didn’t need the extra money anymore. I wanted my free time back. So I quit.

In other words, I chose the safe, non-creative route that pays a crapload more money than writing does. A life of commuting, constant performance evaluations, office politics, and corporate goals and expectations that are not necessarily my own.

I chose the safe route even though I have never experienced a greater sense of pride than publishing a blog post and being told it has resonated with someone. I have never received a greater compliment than from someone who praised me for my writing.

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My blog topics change as I get older. My blog is almost 9 years old; I started it when I was 22 and I will turn 31 next month. When I was in my early-to-mid 20s, I wrote about my various traveling adventures (driving cross-country multiple times by myself, spending a college semester in Amsterdam), in addition to my quarter-life crisis. In my late 20s I started writing for BlogHer, focusing on living life as a happy single woman, dating, and engaging in various fitness escapades (attempting a variety of classes I’d never done before just to see what they were like).

I haven’t found my writing niche in my 30s. I don’t mean “niche” in that I can’t write about whatever I want (which is what I’ve always done), but “niche” in that, in the past, my posts have generally had a common thread. Although I know who I am and what I want to accomplish in this decade, my writing has remained virtually stagnant.

It’s not that I don’t have ideas for topics to write about. Ideas for blog posts come to me all the time. It’s impossible to spend 7-8 years treating everything you see, hear and do as potentially blog post-worthy and not remain in that mindset to a degree.

What has stopped me from taking the time to write those posts is being unsure if I’m ready to re-commit to regular blogging again. After all, if I’m not ready to write on a regular schedule, what’s the point in randomly putting up well-thought out posts that will probably take several hours to write? So instead of spending my time writing, I socialize, cook, watch a movie, take a walk, or read a book.

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When I was a kid, one of my mom’s good friends told me she was sure I would write a book one day, and when I did, she wanted me to dedicate it to her. I have a notoriously bad memory and that particular incident took place over 20 years ago…but I have never forgotten that conversation. If I write a book one day, I will dedicate it to Theresa.

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