This week on the blog we’ve been talking about plans for the Yew Year, and for each of us, those plans are as different as our personalities, our writing voices, and our stories. As I mentioned last week, my plan last year was simple: to write. I tried a variety of different ways to remain motivated and get words on the page and by the end of the year I had successfully completed the first draft of my story and made some good progress on my initial revisions. Yay! Kind of. Unfortunately, the price of that success turned out to be the loss of the joy of writing.
Making up stories about the people waiting ahead of me in line or dreaming up an explanation for a painting or a picture used to be fun (and how I made it through many a tedious meeting at work). Somewhere along the line, though, that fun got lost. Probably when I started looking at writing as something that I “should do” in order to finish the book, rather than something I “wanted to” do because I was excited about the story I was uncovering. The deadlines and pressure were all self-inflicted, because I really wanted to Finish the Book, but I feel like there has to be a better way.
So this year, I’m doing something a different. I’m banishing the “should” mindset and focusing on “want to” instead. Like some of the other ladies here, I have a day job that keeps the lights on and the bills paid. Writing is a chance for me to do something purely because I want to. It’s the payoff for having to be a responsible adult all day. Sure, I’m aiming to wind up with something to be published and read by others (seeing my book on Amazon or a bookstore shelf wouldn’t hurt either), but not if the journey leaves me with a sense of loathing or resentment (kind of how I feel about The Book) right now.
Now, I know not every minute of writing is going to be nonstop fun. There is hard work involved, and not just a little bit. But I think it’s possible to approach that hard-work in a way that makes the journey one worth taking. So, in the upcoming months I’ll be attempting to discover just how to do that. My hope is that finding a way to enjoy the journey will lead me to my ultimate goal – Finish the book – while retaining the joy of the process.
Coincidentally, I saw an interesting TED Talk earlier today about “Happy Maps” by Daniele Quercia. (If you have 7 minutes to spare, I recommend giving it a watch). He was talking about GPS mapping apps and how the shortest path is not the only way to get to a destination. Through his research, he and his team created “a cartography weighted for human emotions” for the city of London. Using these maps, it’s possible to see how to get from point A to point B via the happy path or the beautiful path or the quiet path. The trip might take a bit longer, but there is more opportunity to enjoy the journey along the way and gain a different perspective.
So, while the others ladies are off storming the castle to publication via the direct route I’ll be following my own cartography, seeking out the happy and beautiful and quiet paths; writing when I want to, not when I think I should. I’ll let you know how it all works out.
In the meantime, if you want to find me, I’ll be over here, walking barefoot in the sand, discovering the unexpected, finding stories in the clouds, and maybe, just maybe, re-discovering the joy of writing.