People sometimes ask me why I write. For a long time, i had no clue why I do.It doesn’t pay my immediate bills and it is long and often lonely work. But this not knowing why made me question this passion of mine and why i have it. It made me want to know how someone found out the meaning for their life, whether it be writing, dancing, fixing cars or working in a warehouse.
The best piece of advice about your life’s work i found was this, an excerpt from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, Published in 1929.
“You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me….No one can advise you or help you — no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its root into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.”
Wherever you are in life, if you are trying to figure out what it is that God would have you do with your time on earth, ask yourself: Must I do it? Would i do it for free, if i was never recognized for it? And if you find that you must, build your life around it. Revel in it. Make it your purpose for waking up in the morning. Whoopi Goldberg said it and quoted Rilke best in her movie Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit: “If every day you wake up and you can’t think about anything but singing, then your suppossed to be a singer….”
I wake up every day thinking about nothing else but God, my family and my writing. That is why i am a Christian, a father, a husband and a writer. What is it that you “must” do?