I pulled out and read my copy of my undergraduate poetry thesis again. It’s like sitting down and catching up with a good old friend.
I read through the acknowledgements till the final page of my exegetic essay. I recalled the many weeks I spent studying scholarly texts and doing field work for the project. I re-familiarized myself with the traditions my poems drew from, reacquainting myself with the arguments of the scholars Berger, Glotfelty, and Malamud.
Re-reading my thesis, I remember the bigger WHY behind my project and how this purpose helped me hold on to my goal of finishing and publishing my first collection of poems.
I believe this is something one must fully realize and embed before embarking on and during any creative journey.
To see our dream projects become true marks of greatness, we must identify our core purpose and hold it close to our hearts and minds throughout the creative process.
The Bigger Why
The WHY in everything that we do, whether it be a novel or a gallery of paintings, is extremely important because it defines your purpose in embarking on this specific creative journey.
With a definite WHY in place, you are clear on what your objectives and end-goals are. You are motivated to work as hard as you can to finish what you’ve started, to get it in the hands of people and spread your message. In fact, your work’s success banks on that bigger purpose.
Simon Sinek talks about the concept of the golden circle and how this has enabled today’s great leaders to inspire action in his TedX talk dated 2009.
He believes and argues that the success of iconic figures like Martin Luther King Jr., the Warner brothers, and even companies like Apple are due to the “why” of what they do, not “what” they produce or “how” they produce. They represent a bigger purpose, which fuels their resolve to continue working towards accomplishing their goals.
In return people believe in and support what they stand for.
People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.
— Simon Sinek 12:38
Without a clear purpose, it can be difficult to even get through the first stage of any project or endeavor. So many things can distract or discourage you from working and pushing yourself to the limits; without a clear and meaningful reason behind your work, you lose sight of why you even began in the first place and eventually give up.
My resolve to continue working on my creative writing thesis is powered by the bigger WHY, the center of my “golden circle.” More than just a collection of poems near and dear to me, they align with one of my biggest passions—animals and supporting them through awareness, appreciation, and action.
In many ways this applies to my decision to change directions as a writer. While the freelance writing path is lucrative and that I’ve invested a significant amount of time building that brand, there is a voice—my bigger WHY—calling out and reminding me of what truly makes me happy and gives meaning to my life.
Writing poetry that touches and inspires people to appreciate life and the world around them gives me a kind of satisfaction that transcends the benefits that I received from being a web writer for hire.
Never Lose Sight of Your Work’s Purpose
The challenge for creatives all around is to never lose sight of that bigger purpose.
Constantly remind yourself of the why behind your writing this piece, painting this canvas, or drafting your next blog post. Why does this work matter to you? Why does it push you to step forward from your comfort zone?
With such clarity in your hands, your resolve to make a difference through your work becomes much, much stronger.