The long road

roadA while ago I wrote a short story about a guitar player walking down a dirt road toward a crossroads late at night. It was a long, excruciatingly painful walk, because he was about to get the thing he wanted most in the world: the ability to play the instrument like no other human being.

Of, course, he had to pay a price.

I think that agonizingly long walk towards a tangible goal is part of the price he had to pay in order to reach that certain goal. 

Do you know what really motivated me to keep writing all these years, even when no one seemed to want to read my stuff? It was not the guy who called me a retard on the web, it was not ambition, it was simply the desire to walk down the road I had chosen until I’ve reached a certain destination. I just wanted to cross the finish line.

I wanted to become a writer so badly that it didn’t matter the price I had to pay: time and energy and a bunch of other million little sacrifices.

Do you know what keeps me up sometimes at night? It’s not the question of whether people will enjoy my work, or if I’m going to be remembered a century after I’m gone, but the fear of having to quit writing. For whatever reason.

We often talk about readers and all that stuff, about inspiring others, about changing something in the world. About fighting for something in our art. We talk about power of will, about perseverance, but we rarely talk about inner motivation, about what keeps us going when everything seems to go wrong.

There are no hobby artists out there. No closet writers, no weekend photographers. We all make art because we feel the need to make something that’s going to last forever. Most of us don’t have the courage to do what it takes in order to fulfill that dream.

But when you find so much happiness and joy in the words you write, or the paintings you create, how can you tell everyone that you wouldn’t want to do this anytime you’d want to? That you wouldn’t want to do this for as long as you can, without having to worry about anything else?

There was nothing I hated more when I was a teenager than having to go to school, or do homework, when all I wanted was to write. That’s why I skipped a lot of classes.

I wanted to write, and I spent a lot of time dreaming about being able to do only that. Write. Whenever I wanted to. Whatever I wanted to.

And to be honest, if it wouldn’t have been for certain financial difficulties I began to experience a few years ago, I would have never tried to self-publish, I would have never started this blog.

On April the 23rd 2012 I wrote my first blog post. I wrote, “This is my first post on this new blog. I’ll try to put as much content as possible. I am going to write some funny stories, make some witty remarks, and shamelessly promote my stories and books whenever I can. Right now it’s so late in Romania, that’s starting to get early.

And I’m tired and this is turning me into a terrible cliche. So this is good night, for now.”

Short. Not really funny.

Anyway, I had decided to keep writing, and to keep blogging, no matter what. Even if no one cared. Even if no one commented. Even if no one read my books.

This was the dream, the motivation that would keep me going. I had plans, realistic plans, and an editorial calendar, and marketing ideas, and other projects, but the dream was the one thing that kept me going when plans were falling apart.

What I’m really trying to say is that we never know where the road might take us. Of course, we’re all trying to reach a certain destination, but it always changes. We change. Our dreams change. The road changes us in ways we’d never be able to predict.

I know it sounds cliche and stuff, but it’s really important to keep going. And you’d be surprised at how many great artists I’ve encountered who just gave up. Because they thought they weren’t good enough, because they thought they couldn’t make it. Because it was difficult for them to find an audience. Some even gave up because they wanted to earn enough money by doing other stuff, then devote their time to making art. They never got a chance.

Life’s cruel like that sometimes.

Art is all about power of will. Only by making art can you be as free as you want to be. I can write whatever I want on a piece of paper, and only if I want to, I can share it with you. I can give it away for free or try to sell it. I’m free when I write, and I’m free to do whatever I want with what I write after I write it.

So, yes, this is what almost everything worth doing in life is all about: choose to go down a certain road, and no matter how scared you are, you have to keep going.

34 comments on “The long road

  1. When I feel discouraged (And what writer doesn’t sometimes get discouraged?) I think of the fabulous line from the song “Carry On” by Fun.
    “Let your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.”
    Keep walking.

  2. mpwilson says:

    Well said, and totally how I’ve been feeling lately when I think about writing on my own blog and what I want to get out of it. It’s like you said, it’s not like you can suddenly decide to not write anymore, because it’s part of you and part of who you are as a person.

  3. I really appreciate this post, not just from a “writer’s” standpoint, but from a standpoint of a human being with potential and ambition, just like you describe here. It is very reassuring to see that when you’re at the end of your rope, there’s nothing better or more difficult than to keep going.

  4. alexjrankin says:

    I like your comment about freedom. I often feel like creating art is actually about freedom, there’s nothing else that offers to such a degree, in my opinion.

  5. Bravo! This is a fantastic post and something I definitely needed to read! Starting a new ‘art’ (blog) is scary and hard but it is a passion and we must keep with it, even if no one cares to read it. Thank you for this. You have uplifted my spirits more than I can describe!

  6. Thanks for the encouraging words. :)

  7. matthewlukejohn says:

    gs

    • matthewlukejohn says:

      sorry didn’t mean to press enter, would just like to say that I thought your blogs were amazing and they have really inspired me to keep on writing.Keep pursing your dreams!

  8. jbh says:

    i started a blog in 2005 and have tried to delete it several times– like an alcoholic i always create another, write another post and end up returning to the original blog on one way or another– keep writing!

  9. Regis Boff says:

    Hey Cristain, You were a perfect mouth for my ears today, Regis Boff

  10. Abby&Ally says:

    I enjoyed reading this so much! Thank you for writing this. I plan on re-reading it during tougher times of doubt or fear.
    -Allie

  11. thank you for your wise words man, I agree that art is about the power of the will. Artists can be free yet it takes work, dedication, a humble attitude and dealing with demons.

  12. Mmmmm, heartfelt sentiments! You are an amazing gift! You are absolutely right – “Keep going!” Thank you Cristian!

  13. A very powerful post – I like it keep working at your art (not that you have a choice)

  14. guitarsallie says:

    I’ve been afraid I wouldn’t really get to have the dream – so I was settling for lesser things – distractions and comfortable places. But those weren’t my path. So I am newly planted on my own path (as of a couple days ago) and what you wrote here applies perfectly. Thanks.

  15. huka says:

    Kia ora Christian. I absolutely love this inspiring post. Thanks heaps for sharing your time and thoughts. I always think to myself, “who is this art that I make for?” At art school and drama school, and even in academentia, we are always encouraged to think about audience… but then I think to myself, “hey, I need to make otherwise how do I know I even exist”. So yah, as much as I enjoy that others find something to ponder when they engage with my stuff, I always know that really it is just for me, and that’s ok. :)

  16. Really enjoyed reading your post very encouraging and honest .
    Keep writing
    Don

  17. a1000reasons says:

    This is an admirable and noble sentiment. You’ve chosen a very difficult road to take. You will need more than courage which you have plenty. You will need more than passion which you have in abundance. You will need perseverance which you resolve to possess. Sadly, you also need to eat. And you need the fickle hand of Fate and the smile of Lady Luck. If your muse stay with you and you never betray her, I wish you all the best in the world. I will be following your progress till the day you attain success.

  18. Marta says:

    Very uplifting post, something I needed to read at this time of the night, thanks! Keep up the good work.

  19. Tela says:

    Only fears come back to you…..the audience can be 1 or 100, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the gift of your time & talent that you put into your writings for people like me to enjoy! To take ‘us’ away from the story of our lives!

  20. This is so wonderfully written! I feel like some people really do lose sight of what they truly want and get discouraged because of other people, therefore giving up their dream. Keep on writing :)

  21. Thanks for this post, Cristian. I know I’m struggling every day with wishing I could quit. With wondering why the hell am I putting myself through this gauntlet of self-doubt and angst. I guess it’s cuz now that I’ve finally started down the road, I just can’t see any other path now. The few steps I’ve taken are impossible to take back. I’ve committed.

  22. Tito Toby says:

    My inner motivation is actually the major thing that keeps me writing. I just have some thing in me that tells me that if I don’t write my own story how I want it, I’ll keep reading other people’s stories and someday someone will write my story the worst imaginable way. That really bites me.

  23. Just write from your heart. There was a song sung half a century ago with the lyrics–“You’ve got to make your own kind of music, even if no one else sings along.” You’re already a writer. Have a wonderful day.

  24. This post is so beautiful. I can understand what you mean when you say, “Only by making art can you be as free as you want to be”. I decided to take a day off from work just so that i could write a story. I feel free when i write and content and really happy to receive comments for my writing. Don’t give up.

  25. That was beautifully written Cristian and obviously straight from the heart. Yes, we should never give up what we love doing, whether it is painting, sculpting, creating or writing. Doing what we love is like feeding our soul and that keeps us motivated. Thank you for sharing your innermost feelings.

  26. Thanks Christian, for writing this, I enjoy when read this post :)

  27. sheunoye says:

    Nice write up. I don’t get discouraged, I just carry on. I do writing because it is the best way I can express my mind. It has become a fire in my bones.

  28. Willpower is definitely important, alright! You’re doing well, Mr. Mihai! Keep on doing your best and having fun with what you do!

  29. binvested says:

    Anything is possible when you do what you love. Great writing, as always.

  30. Love this! This inspires me. The concept of the road is one that’s always haunted me. I’m always forever drawn down winding paths to see where it goes, even if I don’t know where it ends. Kind of like an inner compass, a guidance that cannot be explained but leads inevitably to your truth. I write because if I don’t, I don’t feel normal. It feels natural!

  31. Mmmmm,This is a fantastic post :))

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