What’s my purpose?
A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in a café working on a translation job when I couldn’t stop thinking about one question. What is my purpose as a writer? How do I add value to my surroundings and people in general?
I guess I never really thought about why I do what I do. I’m pretty good at going with the flow and I’ve worked in many different areas before I “settled” as a writer a couple of years ago. I’m realising more and more that this is the road for me travel on, and by getting more clarity about my “what?” the question of “why?” is a logical follow-up.
As an artist or someone with a creative profession you hardly ever have a one-sentence answer to the question: “What do you do? What’s your job?”
I’ve struggled with this for a while because it’s hard to nail down the service you provide for others. As a teacher everyone knows what you do and what kind of value you’re providing. The same goes for gardeners, carpenters, cleaners, nurses & doctors, hairdressers, real estate agents, bartenders and so on.
These professions provide a very straightforward service. When a cleaner tells you they are a cleaner, you don’t have to ask any further questions about their job unless you are interested in the small details.
With writers or artists in general it’s different, subtler. What do we really do to help other people? Are we needed? Is it worthwhile to do what I do every day? What difference do I make?
I admit that I felt lost more than once when it comes to my job, my profession, my calling, my passion. It all came from my insecurities concerning my purpose. Over the years, however, as I’m slowly getting to terms with who I am, I’m also embracing my profession.
If someone asked me today what I do, I could just say: I’m a writer, which is undoubtedly connected with many follow-up questions. It doesn’t really give an answer to the service I am providing.
So now whenever I need to tell people more about what I do, I say: I’m the one who’s creating these happy little distractions from your daily grind, I’m the one fuelling your daydreams and taking you on a journey with me, I’m the one promoting your habit of procrastination and I’m the one injecting colour into the greyness of everyday life.
I’d like to say that occasionally I’m offering a virtual shoulder to lean on, or the resources to help you solve a problem and sometimes my only purpose is to put a smile on your face at the end of a hard day. Life can get pretty tough and as a creative professional I’m there to make it a little bit more bearable and beautiful.