If You Want To Succeed, Get Hungry

“There’s a line of other people who want your husband,” someone once said to me. “If you want to stay married, keep that in mind.”

On the just-ended season of HBO’s Girls (Season 4), Hannah leaves her boyfriend Adam in Manhattan. A fancy job as well, writing words for a magazine that blur eradicate the line between journalism and marketing.

Hannah is not just a writer by trade. She is claimed by writing. It owns her. She cannot do anything but write, real writing. She cannot think except about what her next piece will be. She cannot stop until her work is better, better, better.

Hannah leaves Adam, whom she loves. She’s been accepted to the renowned graduate program for creative writers, the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Anyone who writes and cares about writing at all can recognize this expression on Hannah’s face. It is Hannah, but it is really Lena Dunham and the show exemplifies her.

As a college lecturer I can tell which students are really hungry to learn. It doesn’t matter if they’re good at grammar, or if they understand the subject matter, either.

The desire bubbles up to me. The rest is unimportant.

Same when I work with staff. I will always gravitate to people who are excited by what they’re doing. Even if it seems mundane to you, they actually care about getting it right.

It’s a waste of time to deal with anybody else on that particular subject.

Someone recently said, “I’ve been so bad about keeping up with social media, you know? It’s so hard.”

Earlier I’d walked while snapping photo after photo of…garbage…houses…the sky…cherry blossoms…myself…and more garbage, and walkways.

I wanted to see what the Instagram filters could do with this.

And I said to her, “You don’t want to be doing social media at all. Don’t bother.”

She can pay for someone to do Instagram. She can’t pay for someone to round people up to go to a party, which is the thing she loves to do.

If you ever read advice to the effect that “work and passion are separate,” disregard it.

You must do what you love. What you care about so much that your limbs shake when you think about it. That it burns your guts.

If you aren’t then you are missing out on your mission on this planet.

That jealousy you feel when you look at someone else?

It’s the thing you ought to be doing right now.


All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or the federal government. Photo by Luke Saagi via Flickr. Screenshot via HBO via Indiewire.

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