The Hero’s Journey of James Michener

“It’s what I do – I’m a writer” – James Michener

“As a younger man, I wrote for eight years, without ever earning a nickel, which is a long apprenticeship, but in that time I learned a lot about my trade” – James Michener

“I never wrote anything that was published until I was forty” – James Michener

Your quest, should you choose to accept it, is the overriding principle on which to base your life and career. This gives your life clarity and focus without stifling or restricting you.

“When this is over, I’m not going to be the same guy. I’m going to live as if I were a great man.”
― James A. Michener talking about finding his mission in life in the midst of war

A quest is told to inspire you, not to impress others. It reflects your inner desires and values as well as the direction of your life. It is a powerful tool and should not be rushed. It may be best to start by writing everything you want to be, do, have and how you will serve others. Then cut out the repetition and keep cutting it down until it is one or two sentences long.

Then memorize it, internalize it, and live it.

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. ”
― James A. Michener

Your quest should inculde an inner goal, what it will take to please you, your deepest desires and dreams. You’ll also want to include an outer goal, which is how you will serve others. This ‘outer goal’ is important because it will usually point out how you will make money by reaching your inner goal. Your quest story does not need to include your desire to hae a Rolex, a Porsche, a beach house in Italy and the best tables in the best restaurants, however.

“The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality.”
― James A. Michener

Fill in the blanks: I would like to work in ……………….,  doing……………, and be known for..

This will help you focus on what is best for you. Not what is okay, good, or better, but what is best. This will keep you focused from day to day and year to year.

“Being goal-oriented instead of self-oriented is crucial. I know so many people who want to be writers. But let me tell you, they really don’t want to be writers. They want to have been writers. They wish they had a book in print. They don’t want to go through the work of getting the damn book out. There is a huge difference.”
― James Michener

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