How To Regain the Clarity in Your Art

What’s your greatest priority in life?

Beyond family, friends, character, what is your greatest ambition?  What do you feel driven to do?  What is your purpose in life?

I’m not sure the exact year I felt it, but since that young age, I’ve felt compelled to write.  I’ve always looked at the world through words, through metaphors.  I’ve even gotten sucked into the dictionary numerous times, lured in by the syllables and synonyms.  If I were to die tomorrow, I would lament not having written more.  It feels a part of my DNA.

But then again, I find it astoundingly difficult to write on a daily basis.  I find it suffocating to confine myself to the bedroom when I can still hear the sounds of the city just outside my windows.  I’ll even gladly accept phone calls during my designated writing time every night.  Why is this?  I cannot tell you.  There could be a myriad of reasons, or there could only be one.  It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is the obvious fact that I haven’t made writing a priority.  I haven’t fully committed myself to the idea.  And that has to change.

Get out pen and paper because you need to do this with me:

1. Write down all your priorities in life.  Every single one.

2. Split the list in half.  In one column, place only the most important priorities, the goals that would kill you if you couldn’t achieve them.  Limit this column to as little priorities as possible.  In the second column, arrange the leftover priorities, the ones you can live without but still hope to achieve someday.

3. Take the first column and memorize it.  Scratch it out on post-it notes and stick to kitchen appliances.  Write it each morning on your hand as a reminder.  Imprint this list on your heart.  Until you fully commit to these priorities, the outside world will drown out your ambitions, your purpose in life.  You’ll keep taking phone calls instead of writing.  You’ll allow yourself to go to bed without sketching out a single scene.  And sooner or later, you’ll find yourself older but not fulfilled.

Only those highest of priorities can bring fulfillment and help you to regain clarity in your art.

What priorities of yours made it to the top column?  How can you be sure this will translate into action?