“You give birth to that on which you fix your mind.”
Antoine De Saint-Exupery
‘The secret of success is constancy to purpose.”
When Frederick Douglass had to choose a name for the newspaper he created to help foment the abolition of slavery, he decided to call it The North Star, because it was this fixed, never-wavering point of light in the sky that helped runaways navigate their way to the North and freedom.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we each had our own artistic North Star? If we could keep our minds, hearts, and hands relentlessly focused on achieving the creative goal that we’ve envisioned for ourselves — whether it’s completing our novel, gathering a collection of short stories, or finally getting that play out of the drawer and onto the boards?
Maintaining such constancy is critical to success — and yet it is desperately hard to pull it off, isn’t it? Everything seems to militate against it. There are the daily distractions we all face. There are circumstances we can’t control. There are the demands of the people around us. There are financial pressures. There is the societal disparagement of anything that involves practice and sacrifice. There’s Snooki and The Situation.
But most of all, there is our own wonderfully fertile yet often woeful imagination. When it is not gainfully employed and fixed on our creative polestar, our imaginations don’t just take a vacation, do they? Instead they occupy themselves — and us — by conjuring up all sorts of tricky ways to divert ourselves from the job at hand: writing. There are scary scenarios about failure, escapist fantasies about success, stories about why we should pack it in and spend our time doing something else.
What to do? What to do? Keep looking up and scanning the sky for your own North Star — and then turn your eyes page-ward and write on.