If you tell someone you’re a writer, what’s one of the first questions they ask?
Have you published any books?
If you tell someone you’re a pastor, you at some point get asked,
How many people go to your church?
When talking to a fellow blogger, what’s the one thing you’d love to find out?
How many people visit your site?
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Too often, I catch myself wanting to be famous. The next JK Rowling. The next John Steinbeck. I have all of these perceptions about a life with more money, more speaking gigs, more fan mail. And these perceptions all tell me that those things would bring me more happiness.
I guess there’s nothing wrong with wanting something. I hear my buddy J questioning my martyr complex. But what I’ve found is that when reality sets in regarding the odds of becoming rich and famous, it’s occasionally accompanied by a kind of senseless discouragement. The kind of discouragement I never feel when I am simply working hard, doing that which I find joy in doing. Simply for doing it, and not for what it might give me in return.
The greatest peace I feel in life comes after I tell myself, in response to many internal arguments, But ultimately I don’t care if I never have a million fans. I enjoy writing. And I’m going to do it for the rest of my life.
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There’s a guy at our church who comes in early every single Sunday to help set up the chairs. It’s mostly a thankless job, yet every week he’s there when the sun is coming up, and he’s there in the slanting noon shadows after everyone else has left. He doesn’t do it for the money. Or the fame. He does it because someone has to do it, and he does it because he is willing, and I’m guessing in some way he feels that he’s “supposed” to do it. I’m guessing he enjoys it.
I’m starting to see my writing that way. Setting up the chairs. One word before the next. Until I fill up an auditorium, and then if no one shows up, or only a few, that’s okay, because I’m on to the next building, the next empty space. And I’m putting up more chairs. Because that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. Because that’s what I love to do.
Why do we put such high value on people who are known? What is something you are dedicated to doing with your life, no matter the amount of recognition or money that it brings you? Are you giving enough time to this one thing?