Last night I watched the first episode of World Eats Bread, which talks about sourdough bread in San Francisco and some of the bakeries, like Rize Up Bakery, that are doing amazing things. The bottom line was that the individuals profiled followed their passion. They had a calling, and they chose to dive head-first into it and see what would happen. I feel like for authors, the road to finding sustainability in our writing careers follows much the same path. We need to find our calling, and more importantly, cultivate the strength to follow it regardless of what the “experts” say or what others are doing.

In a publishing industry that tells you how many words you should be writing a day and what you should be writing, it can be difficult to follow your calling. It means stepping off the beaten path. It means taking chances and calculating risks. It’s not easy, but it’s oh so worth it.

So where do you find the strength to following your calling?

Knowing your purpose is the key. When it comes to writing fiction you might think it’s just about the story. Getting lost in worlds of your own creation. Following a character on an adventure. But what’s the purpose behind those stories? What message are you trying to share?

Even for the fluffiest of fiction stories, there’s a purpose, a deeper meaning. It could be sharing that love triumphs over all obstacles. Or perhaps it’s about the lessons you learn after a long adventure. Or maybe it’s exploring the unknown. Or that perseverance and diligence will always win over evil? Think about the message you want to tell with your stories. What does your world building embody? What are the biggest themes to your story? That could be part of your brand, but it’s also your purpose.

Finding the strength to choose purpose over flash and fast results–that where the really good stuff happens.