If I had to summarize what I got out of last night’s How I Write event, I would say this – I got encouragement.
Out of everything that both Melody and Perry mentioned, I felt that the message that stuck out the most to me was that sometimes we just have to let our passions find us. Melody talked about how she had to go through several phases to find herself where she is right now. She told us about how it took many years and a few jobs for her to figure out that she had a passion for teaching writing. Perry also talked about something along the same lines. When I asked him how he found himself doing so many things – poetry, fiction, movie reviews, screenplays – he said, quite simply, that he just found what he loved to do.
I supposed that this was the idea that lingered in my mind after I’d come home from the event mostly because it reinforced the same message I’d been hearing a lot lately. Just last week, I attended a talk given by a former president of the Society of Actuaries who told us that he graduated with a degree in physics but ended up working in the actuarial field just because he found that he had such a great passion for it. When he spoke, he seemed genuinely enthusiastic about his career and especially about sharing his experience with us. I wondered how someone could find a passion like that. (I found this an especially tricky, silent tug-of-war due to the difference between my actuarial math concentration and my writing minor.) And then he said this – “Find your calling.”
Last night’s session made me see that sometimes we just have to let things happen. Melody took on different jobs to find herself coming full circle back to identifying herself as a writer. Perry decided to go ahead and pursue what he knew he truly loved. He even admitted to feeling afraid of pursuing it simply because it might not get him a job. But they both took on the challenge and worked through it with willpower and, most importantly, I think, a love for what they do.
So, in the end, the How I Write event wasn’t so much a way for me to learn how people wrote, but more of a way to learn how other people had used their talent and passion to pursue something bigger. It was encouraging to hear about how both writers struggled through their writing process yet kept trying until they felt that, finally, they had produced something good.