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While "True North" is usually a navigational term, it is also a metaphor for the values &/or goals that guide us, primarily the ones that we hold dear.
My "True North" is complex, but if I had to summarize it, it would be Faith. Not the kind of faith one seeks in a church, synagogue, or mosque, but the kind of faith one finds inside the heart. Faith in my dreams, faith in my family & friends, faith in the future, etc. It implies moving forward, living to the fullest, and conquering challenges. Believing that when I leave this planet my life will have made a difference - that I touched lives and left a positive legacy. And while I do have faith in God, it's not a religious sort of faith, but a faith that just knows He's there, that He's guiding me, and that He loves me.
Why is that important to a writer? Well, it means everything to a writer. We've signed up to write across the years of our lives, navigating through tests and trials, challenges and chaos. If we're not equipped with a properly working compass, we'll never see our journey through to the end. It takes a heart that knows what is important - what is "True North" - to see us through. We must have a significant reason to write.
A writer might believe becoming a published author is her "True North." But will that help her if she never gains agent representation, or never gets published? How will that help her if her dreams don't come true?
I believe we all must have a bigger "True North" than what our writing goals can provide to be happy. There must be substance in our lives.
While I do stay motivated by always working toward my goals, I try to never lose sight of why I made those goals: It comes back to Faith.
Knowing what you value as a human being - no matter what your occupation - is the best way to find strength amidst the storms of life. If you know your "True North" you'll always know which direction to go.