“Besides, I have promises to keep.” This sentence from Christine M. Grote’s recent post, “Why do I Do This,” captivated me. I poured over her words and then sucked them into my soul as if nectar from heaven.
Here is an excerpt:
“This is one of those days where I wonder why I do this. Do you ever have a day like that? I start thinking about how much time all this blogging, commenting, writing, and promoting is taking, and it makes me wonder. Why?
Sometimes I think it’s the stats and the comparison to others that gets me down.
Then I think about how it might feel if I quit. I would have to face not only the opinions of people who might think I was a quitter, but also I would have to face the void of no writing. I don’t know how I would feel if I wasn’t writing, but I’m fairly certain I would regret giving up what I’ve started.
So I continue.
Do you ever have days like this?
Besides, I have promises to keep.”
Christine goes on to explain those promises she’s made to write the stories of others. This newly self-published writer continually encourages me along my self-publishing path. In fact, I’m currently reading her memoir about her sister titled, “Dancing in Heaven.” Her family’s story captivates me. I find it wonderful to read about people who value the gift of life given to them through a precious daughter/sister named Annie. This family’s courage and devotion in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles is truly remarkable.
Christine’s memoir infuses my writer’s life with hope. We live in a world that values striving for the New York Top Sellers List. Yet Christine writes to fulfill promises…those she’s made to herself, to her family, and to others. I like the way she thinks and lives.
As I’ve pondered Christine’s post, I’ve recounted the promises I’ve made. I’ve promised myself that writing would be a daily self-care tool for my mind, soul, and spirit. I’ve promised my daughter that I would write my story (a memoir that’s stalled at the end of the 5th chapter).
I’ve promised my students–past, present, and future–that I would teach them to read and write so they would have the tools for discovering their own unique destinies.
I’ve promised myself that I would not calculate creative success by blog followers.
After contemplating my promises, I left the following comment on Christine’s blog:
“There you go reading my thoughts again. I just had one of those ‘Why am I doing this?’ days yesterday. I like the way you put that, “I have promises to keep.” Today, I gave one of my students a signed copy of my book. This inquisitive teen has told me about her ambitions to become a writer and an artist. She was overwhelmed with appreciation and said, “Mrs. Luna, this is the first autographed book I’ve ever received.” Christine, I, too, have promises to keep. Thanks for reminding me of that.”
As I gave this student a signed copy of my book, two others gathered around us and said, “Mrs. Luna, I want to read your book.”
I have a sneaking suspicion I’d better buy a box of them.
As I ponder my creative path, I wonder when the conditions to continue began to include the following:
- Monstrous book sales
- Recognition as a painter
- Money made from crafting
These things seem so diametrically opposed to the person I am when I’m with my family. I take photos at family gatherings because of a promise I’ve made to record those priceless memories we make together.
We treasure these reminders of times we’ve loved without measure. That’s pretty special in a world that values the accumulation of wealth, influence, and indulgence.
Today I wonder whether there are others asking the question Christine dared to ask, “Why do I do this?” I also wonder how many have made promises that they are struggling to fulfill.
What promises did you make?
Did you promise yourself you’d see the world?
Did you promise a child you’d take her fishing?
Did you promise your son he’d see the sights?
Did you promise yourself you’d grow old gracefully, enjoying the blessings that come from no longer having to pretend but merely to love?
Some of my parents’ greatest regrets are the times they missed spending with their grandchildren because they were propping up church programs.
Whether you’ve decided to buy a camera to freeze memories, start a blog to record travels (like Jennifer King), or write a book to share a part of yourself with others, I encourage you to persist. Persist whether or not the world looks at your photos, appreciates your art, reads your blog, or buys your book. Persist because you have “promises to keep.”
Have you stuffed your creativity down while dealing with the demands of life? Do you doubt your creative abilities?
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One Reply to “Promises to Keep”
Aww…Jodee, I also got days like that. It is hard to keep up trying to post everyday but I try to remember my promise to myself that I will dedicate an hour of my time for art and blogging. 🙂