Are you feeling a little lost as an author? Are you just going day-to-day doing what you think you’re meant to be doing with no insight as to why, or where you should focus your attention? You’re blogging, or not blogging, you’re on social media, you’re writing stories that are in your head, you’re told to build an author platform and yet you have no idea what it means, and you’ve joined a critique group. Maybe you are running around doing all this stuff and are losing heart. You know that deep down. something is wrong.
There is a fix. It is easy, and at the same time it is also hard to find what to do about it. If you are ready to dig deep to find an answer, keep reading.
Late last year I felt that I missing something from my author journey. I thought that I knew where I was heading and what I was doing, and then I felt like I was missing something. Shortly after, I came across a concept that has cleared the muddy waters that I was traversing and I now have clear sailing ahead. What is this concept?
You have to know your why. Your why impacts your what, and your how. In other words, if you know why you are doing what you are doing, it will impact what you are doing, and how you are going to do it.
I hope that this will help you to clarify your own ‘why’. Prewarning: It will take some time, soul-searching, looking deep within yourself, and answering some questions, But, I promise you it will be worth it.
Here is the video by comedian Michael Jr. that sparked it all. Please watch it before continuing.
You’re back. Yay!
It was about the power of knowing your ‘why.’ In the video, he shows the audience a clip from a different event. Michael had met an audience member who was a singer and music teacher. He asked this man to sing the beginning of “Amazing Grace.” As expected, he sang it flawlessly note for note in an amazing deep baritone.
Michael asked the man to sing the same song again, but this time to think about a hypothetical situation of a family member being released from prison. This man’s second performance rocked me and gave me chills. His voice rang out in that auditorium with passion and thankfulness. He created his own notes. He let himself fly with so much feeling and emotion it had people on their feet. Michael Jr. finished with, “When you know your ‘why’ then your ‘what’ has more impact, because you’re working towards your purpose.”
In this article in Forbes magazine written by Margie Warrell she asks four questions. (I have paraphrased some parts here)
1.‘What makes you come alive? ‘Connect with what you’re passionate about, know that when you focus your attention on endeavors that put a fire in your belly you can find your way forward and it will impact how you do things.’
2. What are your innate strengths? ‘What are the things you’ve always been good at (sometimes wondering why others find it so hard?)’
3. Where do you add the greatest value?
Knowing ‘your greatest strengths and where you can add the most value—through the application of your education, skills, knowledge and experience—can help you focus on the opportunities, roles and career paths where you are most likely to succeed and therefore find the greatest sense of accomplishment and contribution. Do not undervalue your strengths, skills and the expertise we naturally acquire over time.’
How can use your interests, strengths, abilities, interests, and experiences, as an author?
4. ‘How will you measure your life?
‘People who don’t stand for something, can easily fall for anything. Deciding how you want to measure your life means making a stand for something and then living your life in alignment with it.
Ultimately, living with purpose means focusing on things that matter most.’
I have personally found that I now take on challenges even though I know that it is going to stretch me. Sometimes, I do it because I know it is going to stretch me. It inspires me to keep going forward, but at the same time it gives me a way forward. It is because I know why, and now my why impacts my what and my how.
So, as an author, how do you put all this together?
Take a piece of paper and pen, or on the computer, and write down all the things that put a fire in your belly (and I don’t mean the chilli or curry you are planning on for dinner), the things that you are passionate about. I graded mine from ‘really important’ to ‘OMG I HAVE to do this’. You can use, 1-10. Important to Majorly important. Whatever works for you
Write down all your strengths. Don’t be modest here. No one is going to see this.
Think of your education, your skills, your knowledge, your interests, and (what impacted me most personally) your experiences. Write it all down.
Now the big one. How will you measure your life? What are the things that you are going to focus on? What gives you purpose?
Take your time and don’t rush it. It is a process. You will find that all what you have written will intersect at some point. You will have your light bulb moment.
Doing this myself has given me renewed focus in the stories I write, as well as how I want to be known as an author. It has even given me new focus for my blog posts on my website for the year.
I am sure that if you stop and think for a few moments, you can name some authors who: love history and write historical fiction; others have lived through some various horrible experiences, they’ve come out the other side and now share about what they have learnt in their stories, school visits, and workshops; another has a love of zombies and what you can learn from them, and that’s what they focus on in their stories, blogs etc.
Well, you get the picture.
I hope that this has inspired you, and encouraged you in your author journey. Are you ready to find your, ‘why’?