Lessons from The Art of Work

The Art of Work

“I am a college professor and my husband is a travel agent. We combine those interests by holding traveling writers’ workshops.”

I told the Barnes and Noble sales clerk as I dropped off one of our travel brochures.

As the words rolled off my tongue, I didn’t feel like a fraud. I felt confident knowing that I had worked very hard to earn the privilege of reciting such a sentence.

Leisurely reading The Art of Work, by Jeff Goins this Sunday morning reminds me of those details.

I was blessed with twin girls when I was only 20 years old. My marriage was challenging, and I was facing a growing addiction to alcohol. Those factors really didn’t stop me. I enrolled in school when my kids were as young as 2 years old. I took a career development course at the local community college. My husband did not like my passion for education, nor did he support my lifelong dreams, which he assured me, I would not have time to pursue.  No surprise, by the time my kids entered kindergarten, I was divorced.

For many years, my single parent status was my excuse for not working toward my dream.

It was enough for me just to survive and keep food on the table. I worked at a bank, I waited tables and I tended bar. I opened a journal occasionally, to write creatively, but my writing always felt maudlin and sappy. The result was 100 fabric-covered journals with 99 blank pages.

I didn’t give up.

I read Julia Cameron and various other creative lifestyle gurus. I kept coming back to teaching, literature, education and writing, which I had to bankroll with my several day jobs, while trying not to neglect my children and battling alcoholism. It sounds awful, but each necessary step, failing, stumble and catastrophe brought me closer to my dream. Sounds funny, but success is made up of a 1000 failures.

The Art of Work is filled with tender anecdotes and wise, encouraging words.

Sure, we have heard these words a million times, but until we experience the other side of failure, it is difficult to apply theory to practice.

This book tells us that we can. Filled with real life examples of success, this book tells us that we can and will succeed. Jeff Goins is encouraging yet practical. His words resonate with me as I attempted to live an artistic life for decades. The only question I ask myself is, “Why didn’t I start sooner?”

So, as part of my daily habit these days, I am reading The Art of Work, writing 500 words and believing in my life as a daily artistic pursuit.

So, what are you waiting for?

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