One of the activities I have taken up in my quest to conquer the world of literature is to read the autobiography of great artists in any field. Frank Capra’s and Charlie Chaplin’s were extraordinary reads. Roger Corman inspired for the shear volume of energy he put into his work. Fred Astaire was an elegant man.
Currently I am reading the autobiography of Laurence Olivier, Confessions of an Actor. To those of us over fifty, Sir Larry is arguably the greatest actor of all time. Go see him in Wuthering Heights or Hamlet or Marathon Man.
Here is a quote from his book: “I am sometimes in contact with sad people who ask me, ‘What am I living for, what is the point of life?’ I answer promptly, ‘Service.’ If you only could achieve an ideal on that, if everybody could, then no one from Queen to the humblest scrub lady would ever feel that they were living for nothing.” Sir Larry hated vacations and he loved to work. He made movies and acted on stage until he died in his eighties.
I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t take a day off or go the the beach. But I do recommend considering his devotion to serving others through what he did best. The world needs good writers but it also needs good taxi drivers and dry cleaners, firefighters, doctors and chefs. Do what you do well, do it with courtesy for others.
That’s one of the things I am striving for in my writing.