It was a few days ago that I read a post left by someone in cyberspace that went something like this, and understand I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist of it. If you find yourself having to compromise your morals to accommodate those around you, perhaps it’s time to change those around you. While I agree with the meaning of this catch phrase in that I don’t think you should ever compromise to meet someone else’s requirement, I’m not completely clear on the changing the people around you part, because that part of the phrase actually carries a double meaning. Did the author mean get rid of the people around you, or did the author in fact mean lead by example? Or, maybe there’s a third option. Maybe you’re supposed to dig deep in your heart and discern for your own life and situation what exactly it does mean. Whatever you determine, when I saw this phrase I thought of the post I told Joanne I would write for today. I told her several weeks ago that I’d like to post about staying true to one’s heart. Then this fitting phrase just happened to jump up and bite me and the post began to take shape.
Long ago and far away when I first began my writing journey I had a vision, as I imagine all fresh on the journey writers do. That vision entailed writing a certain thing a certain way and never compromising my beliefs, wants, desires, goals, or morals. What I found out is that walking the path of writing can be one of the most corrupt and brutal paths known to man. If you let it. That’s the key really. No one can corrupt your vision unless you allow them to, much in the same way no one can steal your joy, you in fact allow them to take it away.
The path to weaving from the path I found didn’t even start with the writing. It started with, well, social networking. Yes, I would have to say that the seed that was being untrue to myself was planted along the social highway. Don’t get me wrong. Social networking can be a powerful tool, however, it’s all in how you use it that makes the difference. It can in fact be a bandwagon of trouble if you don’t monitor your use of it. The social network is where you are tempted to be herded like the other sheep into this clique or that clique or this group or that. It’s also the place where once in those cliques and groups you notice there’s a lot of backstabbing, gabbing about others, and general nastiness going on. Do you float along with the crowd and “sort of join in with your fingers crossed behind your back?” Or go against the grain and risk losing out on all the cool kid things that are happening? It’s there that you see the worst of people erupting in the form of flirting with people they don’t even know, speaking ill of one another, and I’ve even witnessed online fights and arguments. Not savory. People get intoxicated and post things they probably would never otherwise be caught saying in a million years. They’re negative, negative, negative. And after a while, well, guess what…you become negative and sink into some sort of indescribable funk.
And that’s really just the beginning to be honest.
I just finished a seven part series on my own blog about the seven deadly sins and how they can tear our career down around us a brick at a time. And I didn’t deny my own shortcomings in these posts. To the contrary I owned up to them, admitting the times I’ve been jealous over someone else’s achievements, or been gluttonous wanting more and more and more. It’s so very easy to fall prey to these things in this world, because let’s face it, writers tend to have enormous egos that need fed. It’s in what we feed those egos that we either succeed and float to the top with the crème or fail and find ourselves stuck at the bottom in a muck pit.
Through a series of the things I’ve mentioned above, a few months ago a light bulb went off and I realized that vision I had at the beginning? The one that I’d never compromise my beliefs, wants, desires, goals, or morals for was indeed corrupted. And action was required immediately.
I took a good long look at the things I was doing. Almost 2000 friends on Facebook? And I actually only new about a hundred of those. A handful were people I could call acquaintances and writing contacts—of the sort I wished to keep anyway. What was I doing? What had driven me to accept so many requests from people that had no more interest in me as a writer than the man in the moon? I am now down to less than 300 and most of them are true friends and family and the rest are either fans or people that I actually want to foster a meaningful relationship with. Someone that is a positive influence rather than a negative one. You see, I figured out in this case, the message for me was clear—I needed to actually move away from the people around me as there was no way they were changing and who was I to ask them to anyway? They have their path and know what they are willing to do to make it to the end and I have mine. Living in a negative cesspool is not a viable means of fostering my career. Changes had to occur and I changed things. In this case I hope I led by example. Maybe others will follow.
Once I made up my mind to clean house, so to speak, it was as if the skies opened and I could see the sun for the first time in a while. Other revelations came pecking on my door and I figured out that while I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve written and wouldn’t change a thing (for those of you that don’t know me around here—I write very saucy stories to say the least, but because I present them in the light and context of an actual romance they fall on the romance side of the line), my heart was discontent because I missed my military heroes so much. At some point during the melee, I’d wandered away from what I consider to be my calling. To bring Marines to life on paper and give an insight to what it’s like to live this life every day and somehow still find romance and a happy ever after. Another correction had to be made and is being fertilized as we speak. I have a couple of pieces to finish up then it’s off to the races with several military romances I have in the works.
As a result, I’m a much happier writer today. I’m not discontent and unhappy every morning when I get up and my goals are evolving and growing to accommodate that. At one point I was at a stalemate with no direction really. Now my train is back on its tracks and the things I have planned…and their coming to fruition as a result of staying true to myself and either changing my environment by leaving one for another, or setting an example for others.
Where does your heart lie and what is it telling you? Listen carefully lest you weave away from your path and your mustard plant get out of control…
Ms. Munro loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted via her website website: Realmantic Moments or through Facebook at Connect with Lila on Facebook You can also contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lila, thank you so much for guesting today and sharing your journey. I appreciate your candor and inspirational words.
Hope you all can stay and chat with Lila.