Maria Popova & Creating for Yourself

"Write for yourself." - Maria Papova

Quoting Kurt Vonnegut in an Q&A session from The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, she says, "If you open your window to make love to the world, you'll get pneumonia." What she means is that writing for content, or creating goods and art for other people is a fruitless and maddening effort. It will get you nowhere near the root of your soul and potential.

Listening to Maria Popova speak about her life and process is a bubbling, ebullient experience, inspiring movement and encouraging growth within the artist. She works endless hours pouring over her "labor of love," Brain Pickings, and not for the readers, but for herself. She writes about those topics which she finds interesting.

"Love words,
Agonize over sentences,
Pay attention to the world."  - Susan Sontag

In her interview on the podcast, Popova says that, "Life is a continual process of arrival into who we are," and that the trick is to stop ourselves, "of the illusion of having arrived."

She is clear in her conviction and earnest in her pursuit, in her will to share this literature and these soul nourishing works with the public and young artists, alike.

"If you're a writer,
write the things you want to read.
If you're a painter,
paint the things you want to see painted."  - Maria Popova

These encouraging words are meant to push the artist ever forward, reminding us, evermore, that each day is a new page, and we are the authors, body, mind and soul. Each day we must remind ourselves that how we live is our choice, and living for ourselves and our own joy and amusement is often the best route. It seems so simple, and yet this act can take years, even an entire lifetime to master.

To quote Alan Watts, who she also references in these rich talks,

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”  - Alan Watts

And Henry David Thoreau,

"Those who work much do not work hard."  - Henry David Thoreau

It seems as though the ticket to a rich life is to embrace the day to day and show up no matter what, for as Annie Dillard says, "how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."