Do You Have a Writing Destiny?
Quite a grand word, isn’t it? Something to live up to. Something to stir (or chill?) the blood.
On the other hand, sometimes it can be healthy to look at grand words and concepts from a fresh perspective to avoid stereotyping them. After all, we’re writers; words should be at our command—not the other way around. If right now the word destiny seems a bit intimidating in reference to your writing, let’s do an exercise to clarify the true definition of the word.
des ti ny [des-tuh-nee]
1. something that is to happen or has happened to a particular person or thing;
lot or fortune.
“Something that is to happen” does not play favorites with what type of experience creates a destiny. Only we humans do that with our preferences for certain outcomes. If the statement “my destiny is to be a best-selling novelist” sounds good but—in truth—makes you a little nervous right now, try this:
My destiny is to be a writer.
You may still have issues about how to write more often, how to feel like writing at the end of a long workday, etc. but at least you’ve simplified your destiny for the time being. Taking the pressure off ourselves by reframing our grandiose expectations (and then learning how to take baby steps instead) can work miracles.
“Something that has happened” can be used as a powerful reminder that you’re already living your destiny. Think about all of the writing you’ve done up to this point. Try to resist the urge to dwell on your usual dissatisfaction and, for the purposes of this exercise, view your writing as something that has already happened. Quantity and quality aside.
(Those two value judgments are often laden with the misperceptions we hold about ourselves. Misperceptions are part of our destiny only as long as we perpetuate them.)“Lot or fortune” can sound like good or bad luck, which we can sometimes feel is out of our control. But even bad luck can be turned to our advantage if we learn from it and share our wisdom with others.
A friend of mine, George White, went into kidney failure, lived through a couple of painful years of dialysis and then received a kidney from his sister. George journaled his experiences on CaringBridge.org, touching many hearts with his humble wisdom. Power and success through writing can take many forms.
Many writers face bad luck. It’s what we choose to do with that luck that becomes part of our destiny. It may not always feel good, but the process of becoming a writer can actually be strengthened by the challenges we face. For the ultimate example of this, rent the movie Gaby: A True Story. The movie is based on Gaby Brimmer, a woman disabled by cerebral palsy who is unable to speak or move—except for communicating with her left foot. Gaby overcomes her physical limitations to become an acclaimed author.
In the movie (only available on VHS), it comes across that Gaby felt she had a destiny. She was determined to live life on her own terms!
SOME COMMENTS FROM READERS
There are many times that I tell myself that I’m not really a writer yet because I haven’t been published yet. Hell, I haven’t even gotten through half of my current WIP yet. When I finally get the chance to sit down and write, I often think I don’t have it in me. Then the destiny part kicks in and the words just start to flow. Thanks for the reminder that sometimes we just need to step back and look at how far we’ve already come. —LJ
Most of what we believe to be true of ourselves is alterable if we simply stop believing the label. I find it is powerful to “act how I want to feel.” Act like a writer – write – and the first baby step of which you speak is done. —Judy Clement Wall
As a newly declared full-time freelancer, this article was really inspiring. I have always felt the draw of writing, but still worry about making enough money to support myself. This made me realize my writing is my destiny, and I need to make it work!! —Brianne Carlon
For me, writing started as a desire, and the desire became a destiny as I grew more confident in my work and, in turn, I received more unsolicited praise for it. You know your vocation is your destiny when it “feels right,” when you feel in touch with your real self whenever you’re doing it. And you know it’s destiny when you’re willing to climb every obstacle and withstand any hardship just to keep it going. When I held The Crawlspace in my hand for the first time, the joy I felt was like nothing I had ever experienced for any other achievement. I knew it was what I was meant to do. —Darryl Dawson, graduate of the Fear of Writing Online Course and author of The Crawlspace
What is your destiny? Leave a comment below & share!