Anyone call fall in love. Not everyone can marry their life to another's. The same is true for any obsession. It's easy to fall in like, in lust, to be infatuated and passionate and let it take over your thoughts and time. It's not so easy to commit yourself to it when it ruts into routine, when it feels like a task, when it makes you sweat, when it loses it's glitzy sheen.
It didn't take me long to fall in love with stories when I first learned to read. It's been one of the enduring romances of my life, this appreciation for linking word pictures and sentences with the purpose of interpreting life, of explaining it in ways that you hope resonates with people who perhaps just needed a different way of looking at things. Last year was my honeymoon. Kind of like how in the Old Testament newlyweds were meant to take off an entire year from work to fully engage their new spouse, to understand each other and learn to communicate in their spouse's language, that's how last year was for me and my life's ambition. Without distraction, I had all day to process what I was reading and learning. I wrote, too, but for me the value was in the absorbing, not the actual writing, because like a newlywed I was so thrilled with the newness of the experience that my head was in the clouds and the writing was sometimes foggy, sometimes clear, but not without purpose. No work is purposeless.
Now here I am, faced with the commitment I made and encountering the problems I tried my best to mentally prepare for: disciplining myself to write without assignment, with a full-time job, with only my infatuation and honeymoon years grounding me. Anyone can write. Not everyone can marry their life to a passion. So today, with God and you as my witness, I'm here to make a public commitment to the work that's called me and consumed me for as long as I can remember. And starting tomorrow, I'm going to do what anyone should do when they've made a commitment. I'm going to take the first small step of discipline. I'm not going to finish a book or call an agent--that'll happen later, in its proper time. No, I'm going to wake up an hour earlier and write before I go to work, when my mind is fresh and clean. It seems like such a small thing, I know--but that's the trick. If I'm tricked into believing it's a meaningless thing, I'll be tricked into making light of it and getting out of it. But commitment requires practicality. Romanticizing is fun and has it's place, and there will be times when it's the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. But now I must act. I must avoid the snooze button. I must lift my feet out of bed and place them on the floor. I must walk to our guest room and turn on the computer and write without stopping. I must.
And after quite a few 'musts,' eventually I'll realize that I want.