You know what you want, even if you won’t admit it

For the longest time, I wouldn’t admit that I wanted to become an author.

No, that’s not it – I knew I wanted to become an author, but I wouldn’t admit that was all I wanted to become. I kept looking for other jobs, figuring that I should advance in my other career while I saw if this writing thing would work out. I kept working on Plan B and Plan C, at the expense of Plan A. I didn’t go all in.

What I learned was that the heart often knows what you really want long before your mind is ready to admit it. I pursued other jobs, but the least setback would make me abandon them, because I didn’t really care. I was halfhearted, unable to push myself because, no matter how much the logical me thought I should, the rest of me didn’t care. In my very core I wanted to become an author. All else was a distraction.

It’s a cliche to say “follow your heart”, so I won’t. I’m quite fond of the brain, and follow it often. It’s when your heart keeps getting in the way of your mind that you should take a step back. That’s the you that “civilized” society has tried to bury sitting up and demanding your attention. Maybe you should listen to it.

4 thoughts on “You know what you want, even if you won’t admit it

  1. It’s a nice (albeit a bit unreal at times) sentiment. It’s nice to have a passion that ties to some kind of profitable profession (“profitable” as in enough to make a living, not becoming filthy rich). Problems arise when you like to do something, but there is almost 0% possibility of it translating into any kind of meaningful profit.

    Take me. I love to draw, but I’m clearly far behind with my skills than I should be at this point and it will take many years, possibly even decades, before I’ll be able to draw anything remotely close to a satisfactory level. And I live in a country where distributing even a couple hundred of comic books is considered a success. While I have some extremely long-term plans which *may* result in some kind of a commercial success, there’s little chance I’ll see any money from my drawings in the next 20 years.

    Of course, I’d love to do nothing else than focusing on what I love to do, but it’s just not always possible.

    • First of all, don’t confuse the sentiment as only having to do with professions. That was merely my example. This could have to do with love, or a hobby, or the school you want to go to, or less pleasant things like cutting ties with a caustic friend or ending a good relationship that’s going nowhere. The idea is that often, we know what we want before we’re ready to admit it, so it’s wise to look for those signs in yourself, to try to read yourself like you would read others.

      Also, bear in mind that this doesn’t mean you have to only focus on the thing you want to do. Once again, that’s only because my example takes a lot of effort and time. For many other situations in life, that’s not the case.

      As for your illustration conundrum, a lot of what you said shows markers of low confidence and pessimism, which I’ve never found to be particularly useful. If your skills aren’t up to par, improve them! If you live in a country that makes it hard to illustrate, move to another one! (Or much easier, distribute via the internet, where your market is everyone who speaks any language you can get your work translated into.) If your work isn’t something people will pay for, create art that is so different than anything else that a small niche will become your die hard fans!

      What’s more, there’s no shame in keeping drawing as a hobby. What’s important is doing what you enjoy – getting paid for it is just an avenue towards doing it even more. The only shame is in getting discouraged and giving up.

      It has never been easier than right now for lone artists to make great art and get somewhere doing it. Maybe it will only be as a hobby, maybe as a side job, or maybe as a full-time career, but there are so many avenues to making and sharing great art open to us all. You’re just going to have to get a little clever to figure out what works for you.

      Idealistic? Perhaps. But pessimism isn’t particularly profitable. I prefer optimism every time.

      • “A pessimist is what an optimist calls a realist,” as was once said by a clever person. Nevertheless, it’s nice to be able to view things with a positive attitude from time to time.

        And truth to be told, I wouldn’t call your approach idealistic. It’s very real and practical, but requires a good deal of motivation and time/priority management. And these can be gained and/or trained.

        Small digression: is it only me, or was your reply longer than the actual post? 😛

        • It was! I try to keep the general idea (at least here – at RandomC is another matter) brief, but addressing a certain case requires a little more specificity.

          Oh, and how’s this for a quote: “Realists are cynics who don’t want to admit it.” Though granted, I’m quite fond of that one since the clever person who said it was me : )

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