Wandering to a Point

Wandering around on the Internet is fun and I’ve found a lot—I mean a lot—of things I enjoy reading, but wandering doesn’t lead to a clear destination. Staying up-to-date has displaced being creative.

When I was younger and slinging medical supplies on a hospital shipping dock I dreamed about writing for a living. One day during lunch I was flipping through the local newspaper and an ad in the classifieds called to me. Reporter Wanted. I got the job as a writer for that same weekly newspaper and thought I had achieved my goal. I began to draw a salary by listening to people and sharing their stories about local events. Many of those events were boring government meetings, but hey, living the dream, right?

What I found was that when I began to write for a living, I stopped writing for me. After crawling back to my cave after work to try to write, my brain was mush. After spilling gallons of creative juice at work writing about the things I have to write about I often lacked the willpower to press on and write about topics I want to write about.

I still do.

Several areas interest me and draw out my passion, and that’s what it’s really about. One cliché says, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” That isn’t exactly true. It’s all work, and all work—everything from building spreadsheets to cleaning your house—has the potential to be art. It’s still work, but it can be work you hate or work you love.

“The mind is its own place, and in itself /
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”
—John Milton, Paradise Lost

It’s time for me to stop wallowing and whining about how limited my precious time is and begin to measure it out differently. It’s easy to reach for ridiculous examples of how people used time wisely. Thomas Edison. Albert Einstein. What does the president’s schedule look like? Anyway, I want to point out some examples that are a little more down to earth. Let’s keep it real, shall we?

In my previous post, I mentioned two people who inspire me: Colleen Wainwright (@communicatrix) and Merlin Mann (@hotdogsladies). Here are two more:

  • John Moltz (@moltz) tops this short list because he recently launched a Very Nice Website to write about stuff he likes, which he says will include issues such as “media criticism, general technology, science fiction, comic books, humor, baseball, competitive macramé and yachts.” Congratulations John!

  • John Gruber (@gruber) writes at Daring Fireball and is one of the writers I’m not willing to cull from my list of must-reads. His site is simply the best source for a portion of the tech world. Make it part of your daily routine. Add it to your RSS feed and buy a t-shirt when they’re on sale.

These people, among many others, inspire me for a couple of reasons. First, they are terrific writers. The best of the best in my opinion. Second, they were not only able to shift their careers to focus on their passions, but they had the sack to do so (you too Colleen!).

Note: I know quitting your job isn’t the answer. Quitting your job isn’t the answer! Sometimes though, it may be the right goal. It isn’t my solution today, but it’s a good goal.