You know that butterfly people encourage you to chase sometimes? That butterfly that swings by you when you’re quietly studying in your room for a college course and wondering what the purpose of it all is? That butterfly that flutters around you when you’ve taken a girl out and she leans really close to you and you’re unsure what to do?
That same butterfly that passes by when your parents are having an argument? Or when you’re out working at a job you hate just to pay the bills and end up with no money at the end of the month?
Well, that butterfly’s got a name – and it’s not happiness.
Here is where your mind is thinking, well damn, he’s going to turn this into a speech about writing. Well, not yet. But we’ll get to that part later.
But let’s go back to our butterfly for a second. I haven’t revealed its name to you yet. That butterfly’s called passion.
And passion gets thrown around between every one or two sentences today. In our world, in a highly demanding world, a lot is expected from us. And as such it’s only natural for us to sometimes come up short. So we start searching for the easy way out: the blame. We scramble and fight and struggle to pin the blame on someone – or something – just to wash it off our skin. And passion is one of those things that blame gets pinned on.
We go around advertising that we haven’t found our passion and that’s why our performance hasn’t been optimal. But do we really mean it? Do we really believe in that argument?
Here’s a secret: very few people do. And even fewer people actually have the guts to do something about it.
Here’s a kid that dropped out of college and gave up on his education just to become a writer. Crazy? Probably. Gutsy? Most definitely.
I’m not saying this so that you drop everything and follow your imaginary dream of becoming a rock-and-roll legend. But out there, there are people who were willing to closely monitor that butterfly, observing every one of its movements and even listening to the sound the fluttering of its wings makes.
Those people were rewarded with a certain passion. And those people invested in it and made it their entire lives.
This is just a heads-up, kid: the world is a scary and unforgiving place, and no matter how much they tell you that the truth is far worse and scarier. You’ll be held accountable for things you didn’t know you had to plan for beforehand and you’ll face consequences you never knew existed in the first place. Once you drown, there’s no way to get back to the surface.
So forget about drowning. Forget about the water. Forget about the butterfly.
If you think your heart’s set on writing, think about the scenarios I talked to you about at the beginning of this: how would writing improve your situation when you’re at home cramming for that course? What good will it do you if you strike out with that girl you went out with? How will it help you mend the hours you burned on a job you don’t even like?
Think about those things. And think about the value of writing in those cases. Will it make up for coming up short or the bad performances you’ve put in those scenarios?
If you find an answer to that question, then maybe there are the makings of a writer somewhere inside you.
And just in case, keep an occasional lookout for that butterfly.