|When you are inspired by some great purpose,
some extraordinary project,
all your thoughts break their bonds;
your mind transcends limitations,
your consciousness expands in every direction,
and you find yourself in a new, great
and wonderful world.
Dormant forces, faculties and talents
become alive, and you discover yourself
to be a greater person by far
than you ever dreamed yourself to be.
|I was the star reporter for the “Class Bulletin.”It was a twice-weekly publication, a small newspaper that reported on everything from sports, to gossip, to entertainment, even academics. The most popular feature was a contest to pick the Academy Award winners in the major categories. The winner got a paid lifetime subscription to the Class Bulletin.
The job sounded interesting so I took it. I didn’t do it for any other reason. The pay was minimal, but I shared the profits with ownership. The newspaper was enormously successful, quickly achieving 90% subscription circulation in its market.
I had never written for a large audience or for a small one either, for that matter. But I enjoyed the job and people told me they liked the articles I wrote. Their praise made me feel good. I liked that. I discovered that writing gave me a good feeling. I wanted to write more. I thought I could get better at it.
The readers wanted me to write all the time. I liked that, too. For a while.
But then the paper was expecting me to write more often. It was hard for me always to think of what to write. I put it off because I could not get started. Or I would not start because I imagined it would not come out just right. I made obstacles.
I began to procrastinate. Soon I stopped doing it altogether. The newspaper went out of business. It lost its star reporter.
The winner of the Academy Award contest, the one with the paid
|lifetime subscription, felt cheated. I guess he was.After that, I never stopped thinking about writing. It stayed with me. But when I thought about it in any serious way, I convinced myself I would not do it well. And if I couldn’t do it well, I wasn’t going to do it at all. So I didn’t finish much. I started even less.
One day, I was writing something about a significant event in the life of one of my children. I meant it to be a keepsake. I was highly motivated by the sentiment and the occasion and I found I was making an extraordinary effort to ensure it conveyed the essence and all the emotion of what I was feeling.
I wrote it and then I re-wrote it. I re-wrote it several more times over a couple of weeks. It got better. The better I made it, the more I wanted to make it better. I didn’t put it down until I had it just right. Really right.
When I finished, I felt a sense of satisfaction I hadn’t known before. I was tremendously fulfilled; the kind of fulfillment that you feel after you do something pretty cool and you stay warm inside for a long time even if a lot of other things around you aren’t working out so well.
I came a long way. The Class Bulletin, the fifth-grade newspaper I published, edited, wrote and sold for two-cents, started the spark that stayed an ember all these years.