Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Work

The first time I read Bird By Bird, it strengthened my love for baseball. It reminded me that I'm not a total lunatic for (or at least not alone in) loving the Phillies so much that I want to jump and scream and hug every other Phils' fan every time Jimmy Rollins gets a hit.

I'm reading it again.

And this time it's strengthening my love for the imperfectly organized pursuit of big, improbable dreams...

The problem that comes up over and over again is that these people want to be published. They kind of want to write, but they really want to be published. You'll never get to where you want to be that way, I tell them. There is a door we all want to walk through, and writing can help you find it and open it. Writing can give you what having a baby can give you: it can get you to start paying attention, can help you soften, can wake you up. But publishing won't do any of those things; you'll never get in that way.

Now replace writing with working on a project the goal of which is to make meaningful change. And replace being published with making money or getting recognized or exploding into household name hugeness.

Making that meaningful change might require money or hugeness or recognition, of course, and that's an important crack in the analogy.

And an important reality for us dreamers to keep in mind.

But not as important to keep in mind, I don't think, as the fact that good things don't happen because of commitment to The Result (the high five, the payoff, the name in lights); they happen because of commitment to The Work.

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