Monday, September 10, 2012
Re-kindling My Joy
If you know me, and you know my writing, you know I tend to be rather eclectic. I could probably be a much better writer if I stuck to one type of prose, but that’s not part of my nature and turns what I love to do into a job instead of a joy. Yes, money and success are important parts of feeling fulfilled as a writer, and though you will probably never see my name on the best seller lists or even my tag line on most of what I write, I am happy with the amount of money and success my writing brings me. Were I to change who I am and how I write I’d lose out on my ultimate agenda: joy. I write for three reasons: money, challenge and joy. Of the three, joy is the most important. I take on projects based on their value to me in those three areas. Some things I write are simply because the money is decent. Some are because the challenge of seeing if I can pull it off intrigues me. Some are embraced because I know it will be good for my soul. My current adventure falls into the challenge and joy categories. I’m hoping the money will follow, but it’s not guaranteed. The thing about writing for joy is— there are certain forces who really don’t want you to experience such pleasure because it lifts your spirit and draws you closer to God. That certain someone will find ways to try and stifle your joy, faith, and commitment because it does not fit his agenda. Meany. That’s what happened with my current project. I’d been happily engaged in it, then realized that my “playing” wasn’t making the progress I needed to meet promised deadlines and stretch myself as a writer. Enter worry, stress, and stumbling blocks of all kinds. Have you ever noticed that when you’re on the right track the road can suddenly turn very rough? Yup, that was me. I started pushing for the business aspects of the project and forgetting the reason that I’d taken it on. Not the pride of a finished project, but the joy of the project and being able to convey that to the end-user and spark their own joy. While deadlines and accuracy are extremely important, those cares should not stifle the spirit of the project. I had been pushing myself this past week to both finish the book and find a solution to yet another stumbling block carefully placed in my way. I thought I was up to the challenge and plugging ahead and doing fine. Then, I noticed something when I went back to edit the work for that week. You know what? Most of it stunk. Yep. It was rote words and empty phrases with a complete absence of joy. Needless to say, I’ve missed my deadline- a very rare occurrence over my 10 year career. There was a specific time frame that would have been optimal for getting this book on the market, but what good does that window do if I’m not sharing my best work with the reader? Not much. I had to step back and decide that the spirit and longevity of the final project were more important than getting it done. And, guess what? Once I refocused on that part of things, the joy rather than the drudgery, my stifled creativity is responding with little sparks of new and interesting light. It’s a beautiful thing. Yes, I’ve let a few people down and had to admit my short-comings. It may have some negative outcomes for me to deal with. It may mean this particular project never sees the light of day. I’m going to have to take that chance. This project is about lifting my personal spirit and sharing that experience with the reader in order to lift their own happiness. If I’m not conveying that, I’m not doing the job I set out to do. So, send your joyful and good vibes this way, ‘cause I’m writing, come what may.