Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Prosperous Writer - Commitment

This week Christina Katz discusses commitment in The Prosperous Writer.  She compares a writing career to the commitment necessary for a marriage to work.  I’ve been married 18 years, so I can relate to that quite well.

The definition of commitment has changed for me over years.  Commitment is knowing that when you doubt every aspect of the very thing to which you’re most devoted, the feeling will pass.  It’s knowing that on the other side of that doubt lies the love, acceptance, progress, and success that makes doubt irrelevant.

One day this week, I had a crisis of self-doubt. It didn’t come from any particular source.  I fought it at first.  Then I ignored it.  Then I explored it to see if there was a lesson I needed to learn.  Then I just accepted it.  As soon as I admitted its existence, it started to dissipate.  That’s when I knew it didn’t have any real source.  By acknowledging it, I was able to bring a recent commitment I made about being more honest about my feelings - especially when they make me vulnerable - to the forefront. At one time in my life, I would’ve spent days instead of hours berating myself  eventually obsessing about every mistake I’ve made in my entire life.  Believe me, with my fortieth birthday approaching, that list takes some time to get through!  Applying my commitment to be honest about my emotions stole my self-doubt’s power.  Wow!

Commitment to a marriage, a friendship, even a familial relationship, takes no effort when things are going well.  When things go askew, commitment provides the freedom to work through the problem.  Knowing a disagreement or a fight won’t end everything makes it easier to discuss the issues at hand.  Sometimes it even makes it easier to just say that it really doesn’t matter in the end and let the fight go altogether.  When the commitment is worth it, neither party feels drained all the time.  There will be draining moments in any relationship, but relationships that are a constant drain generally have a one-sided commitment.  One-sided commitments rarely work for very long. This applies to commitments to other things in life as well.

As a writer, I find that I must commit to any project I start.  If I’m not committed to it, the project will simply wither from neglect.  If I’m not careful, it may die.  Each project I encounter requires a different type of commitment, and often different levels of commitment.  I’ve discovered the more I care about a project, the more I will commit to it, the more excited I will be to work on it, and the better the end result will be.
When I commit too much time and effort to projects that drain me and give me little in return, I exhaust my mental, physical, and emotional resources.  I’ve learned to carefully choose the projects I’m to which I’m willing to commit my time and attention.  This way I work toward my overall career goals and don’t feel I compromise the essence of who I am.

When I talk about commitment, I mean more than agreeing to meet a requirement.  A commitment must come from the heart and soul in order to garner results.  Whenever I’ve agreed to do something that I wasn’t commited to, the results have never been satisifying to anyone involved.  If I feel myself saying “I have to do this.”, I know I’m in trouble.  My commitment level isn’t where it should be for the project.  I then must reassess to determine if I’m not committed to the project or if there’s interference that’s keeping me from giving it my best.
 
The importance of commitment to the success of any part life is monumental.  Without commitment, achieving any goal becomes impossible.  Commitment allows people to see beyond the hard work to the desired result and keep perservering even when every move seems to fail.


So, commit to your next project with your whole being, and you’ll see results that make you proud as well as fulfilled.

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