We all have things that we obsess over, that tickle our fancy, captivate, and enthrall us. I will never understand my sister’s interest in abstract art, or how little boys can pronounce the names of dinosaurs that I didn’t know exist, but they can’t spell their own names. Nobody has time to learn everything about anything, and yet we do anyway.
Last year I wrote a blog, Learning Hobbies, about how we make time for what’s important to us. If we really want to do something, then we’ll find a way to do it. I’ve come across an article that was suggested in one of my classes, Write Till You Drop, that talks about some of the same ideas. Annie Dillard begins the article pointing out that we all have strange fascinations with unique things.
When we like something enough, we learn all about it and spend time on it every chance we get. The article is directed to writers and writing, but any hobby or passion can have the same application. There is a difference between liking the idea of something and really liking something. Do you like the idea of being an artist? Or do you actually like creating? And if you really like creating, then create. Annie Dillard said; “It is no less difficult to write sentences in a recipe than sentences in ‘Moby-Dick’. So you might as well write ‘Moby-Dick’.” Basically, if you’re going to write, then really write. If you want to draw, then get a clean paper and draw rather than just doodles in the margins or sketches on scratch paper.
But realize that writing isn’t easy. Anything worthwhile is difficult. In Dillard’s article, she talks about how only when you have pushed past the hardest moments do you get the drop of inspiration that falls out of the sky onto the page. Only when you give everything you’ve got, it gets easy for a moment. That moment is when you know that you’re on the right track. Then you have to work and spill out everything you have again to get to the next moment when it comes out like you’ve always known it.
I like the advice to put everything you’ve got into your work. Whatever you do, if you write, paint, bake, raise kids, teach, or entertain, put everything you have into it and then you’ll get those magical moments and inspiration that lets you know you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. When something is really dear to you, you’ll put in the time and effort.
Those little boys who care about dinosaurs, somehow learn almost everything about them. What if you were as dedicated to your singing? Or your cooking/baking skills? If you want to write, then read everything good, and then write like crazy. If you want to raise that little boy that likes dinosaurs, learn those long names and teach that kid how to dedicate himself to all the things he loves. Don’t wait or justify, do what’s important to you.