“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
Do you know your path? Have you found it yet? Is it really yours? Are you sure it’s not your Mom’s or Dad’s or husband’s or friend’s? If it’s yours, do you tend to it, tread it regularly to keep the woods from swallowing it (those weeds of excuses, those roots of distractions), and follow it so faithfully you feel committed to its winding way, even when it cuts through awesome terrain and makes you wonder if you’re brave enough to stick to it, if you’re fit enough to endure its steepness and craters, if you’re vigilant enough to keep it in sight and not get lost or discouraged, and if you’re sensible enough to consider the path itself and not some nebulous destination as your great fortune, your luck, your joy?
What if you spend many months or even years on this path and realize no one sees you toiling along its length or, perhaps worse, learn that others see you but scorn you, mock you, and suggest you don’t belong on the path. Do you continue? Do you cling to your path, regardless? This path: It requires more than dogged determination. It calls for pleasure, elation. Love. Can you love this path, no matter what?
I’m asking you about your path—whatever creative pursuit ignites your imagination—and also thinking about my own. Writing is a wild and wonderful path. Sometimes I forget that. Praise, criticism, indifference: They distract me, and I veer off course.
I need to remember what’s important and what isn’t. I need to celebrate this path. I’ve chosen it, and it has rewarded me with worlds to inhabit, characters to explore, ideas to follow, and ways to grow. It has blessed me with delights.
I hope your passionate pursuit does the same for you.
Happy New Year, friends. Happy creating.