When we become passionate about something, often we expect that, because we really want it and are working hard, we will be rewarded equal to our efforts. But often it is a dusty, dirty crash into you head on like a semi truck road of discouragement.
I started playing the piano when I was four. When I think back over my experiences, the dedication cannot be questioned. I practiced every morning from 6th to 12th grade at 6:00 in the morning for an hour, and more after school if necessary for a particularly difficult piece. But thinking back over my experiences with the piano, there are also many times when I was in tears or pounding on the ivories with the grace of an elephant because I just couldn’t get my fingers to do what my brain was telling them to do. And then there was the time when a judge tore into my 16 year old self without a shred if dignity or encouragement when I almost gave up.
Anyone who is alive has experienced discouragement, but somehow, when it is something you have invested yourself into, when it is something that you believe is filling your soul with life, when it is something that you can’t imagine not having anymore, every realization that the goal hasn’t been reached yet feels like a blow from a heavy weight hitter.
In the last few weeks, our writer’s group has experienced complications and delays with buying and closing on a house, bringing home a very preemie baby, having a whole pivotal chapter lost and receiving *nice* rejections after full requests. It can be frustrating. It can turn a regular day of the week into a double-fisting Diet Coke I’m going to eat all the cinnamon bears I want kind of day.
But we are ALL going to have these soul sucking days. There is only one thing we can do on these kinds of days and that is to find something that is guaranteed to help us recharge, weep (literally or figuratively) on the shoulders of our greatest supporters and tell life to keep looking for the weakling because s/he doesn’t live here. As creative people, we simply need to refill the creative tank and keep plugging on, because if we don’t, we end up in a rut. And as everyone knows, the only difference between a rut and a grave is the time spent digging.
How do you conquer life (and a little bit yourself) when it’s trying to defeat you?