Friday, 12 July 2013

AlphaThoughts: Finding Your Fire

Have you ever wondered what to do with your life?  Or whether what you're already doing is really what you're meant to do?

If you have, welcome to the club that includes me, all the other budding writers out there, and...oh...only every other human on the planet.  If you're lucky enough to have found the thing you love to do, you believe you're meant to do it, and you're already out there living it, I wholeheartedly salute you.  You have reached the pinnacle of self-actualisation in the career world.  And you won't get much out of this post, so feel free to leave us at this point.  See ya later.

Ok, so for the 99.9% of you who aren't quite there yet, this is for you.

We often have pretty fixed ideas about what we want to do with our lives, what we love, and what we're good at.  For instance, in an early post on my blog I wrote that I have wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl, though that's not strictly true - many days I did want to be a writer, but on other days I wanted to be an actress, and on still others, a vet.  At one point I asked my mum whether there were any princes around my age at Buckingham Palace, thinking the job title of 'Princess' would suit me rather well.  Sometimes I amuse myself wondering whether a 7-year-old Kate Middleton might have been asking her mother the same question at the same time.  How different life might have been for me...

I digress. What I'm trying to express is that very few of us are ever 100% sure exactly what career is right for us - though we may be categorically sure that the one we're currently in is definitely not what fires us up.

So, if you're hoping to be a writer, or a vet, or anything else, how can you know before you take the plunge that you're diving into the right pool? can't.  You can never be sure.  But you can listen to what your mind is telling you day after day.

For instance, I was in a meeting today for my day job.  We were discussing a particular problem that was proving difficult to solve.  I was fairly engaged in the that's my mind telling me I quite like problem-solving.  Whoop-de-doo.

Then the solution arrived, and part of it involves writing management scenarios about imaginary organisations and people.  Suddenly, I was practically kicking my boss under the table while the others talked, mouthing 'I want to do it' and jiggling up and down in my seat like I had ants in my pants.

Does this mean I want to write management scenarios for the rest of my life?  Hell no.  But if I get that fired-up about writing creatively in my day job, it gives me a teeny smidge more confidence that writing fiction is the right choice for me.

Another little smidge?  I wrote most of this post on the train journey home, and was gutted when we reached my stop and I had to put my phone away mid-flow.  And now here I am finishing it the second I'm in the door, while AlphaCat wonders why he hasn't been fed yet...There's another vote for how much I love creative writing of any kind.

So if you have no idea what you want to do, or you need reassurance that the path you're striving for is the right one, look out for little clues like these in yourself.  When you sit up, your pulse quickens and everything but that idea starts to fade from your awareness, that's how you know you've found your fire.  If it seems as mundane as management scenarios, deconstruct it - why does it make you excited?  What does that tell you about what path would be right for you?

What about you?  Have you encountered little clues that the path you're on is the right one?  How do your smaller passions hint at the bigger picture of what you're meant to do?


  1. I love moments like that when the words just have to be written (with many apologies to an un-fed cat of course! lol). That is a great feeling.

    I remember once at an not-for-profit office job I had editing a colleague's email that was asking members of the community for donations. I loved editing it and reworking it - one of those little hints that I like to write and edit stuff. :)

    Thanks for following on GFC. I'm following you now too! :)

  2. It took many, many years before I discovered that writing was my passion. But now that you mention it, yeah, it was there all along.

    I worked in accounting, but I was the only one who wrote up all the procedures. Everyone else hated doing it. I loved it.

    But I never thought I was creative. Then I realized all those daydreams I had WERE being creative. I just had to write them down! So glad I did.

  3. I love it too Jen. It's just the poor cats that aren't so keen! Lol

    Wow Stacy - I started in accounting too! I'm in a related field now so less numbers and more words, slowly making my way towards my fire :-)