The Collateral Benefits of Cultivating a Passion
This afternoon, I’m heading to the beach for a few days and on the way I’m stopping in at a winery to meet friends. Writing friends. Who are in my writing group, who come to my annual workshop in France, who share my passion for writing.
Every week I meet with a writing group (one week is for a group I co-lead, the other one in which I’m a participant). I discuss writing, drink wine and eat popcorn with writers who share my passion for the craft.
In a couple of weeks I’m driving to a small hotel pretty much in the middle of nowhere with, you guessed it, a group of writers. We will be there to write, discuss writing, eat the delicious meals the hotel staff prepares, and drink wine. (Are you sensing a theme here?)
Many of my closest friends are writers. I spend most of my time with fellow writers, aspiring, published and otherwise. I’ve met judges, CPAs, knitters, bakers, auditors, social workers, trainers, lab workers, breathworkers, shop girls, editors, agents, dentists, doctors, retirees — you name it. All through writing. Not only that, I’ve connected writers nationally and internationally — I have or have had clients in Buenos Aires, Canada, London and Australia.
Through my passion for writing I’ve gotten a graduate degree (MFA in writing, of course), traveled regularly to Louisville, Nashville, Los Angeles, and France and been lucky enough to enjoy teaching at a beautiful location on the Oregon coast.
These are all collateral benefits of my passion for writing, and they fill my life with energy, enthusiasm and joy. And there’s the other thing — my writing itself, the actual act of doing it — fills my life with energy, enthusiasm, and joy.
Years ago, when I longed to write, yet was distracted by raising two very small children, I attended my first writing group. I was so nervous I made my husband come with me. From that small step, untold riches have unfolded in my life. I never could have imagined how writing, and all its collateral benefits, would have allowed me to create a life I love.
I think it is starting to be a thing to mock looking for a life purpose or pursuing a passion. I get it. Some of the verbiage around these activities has grown hyperbolic and overblown, and in the way of such things, trite. Now it is almost cool to be anti-passion, anti-purpose, anti-self improvement.
So call me uncool. Because I’m pro-passion, pro-purpose, pro-self-improvement. My writing serves all of those purposes, and I’m forever grateful for it.
To you I say — go for it. Follow that passion. Search for your purpose. The benefits of such activity are rich and varied.