If you’ve been writing long enough I don’t have to expound upon the following joy stealers much. You know them and you know them well. Writing is not for the feeble, the quick quitters or the wishy-washy.
Writing is for those with malleable hearts, insatiable curiosities, and ironclad resolve.
Because there are joy stealers lurking and ready to rob you from the unexplainable joy writing can inspire.
And they are…
When you hold up the picture of what you thought the writing life would look like and it doesn’t even vaguely resemble what writing actually is.
When life hits you with a bombardment of commitments and you’re squeezed dry of time and energy.
Somewhere along the way you lost the majestic wonder that motivated you when you began writing. The confidence and belief that you were meant for this shrinks to the size of a mustard seed. (Hmm…a mustard seed.)
Ideas disappear into thin air like genie smoke, triggering a season of drought. You find yourself flirting with the belief you were wrong and that you’re ideas won’t ever grow green and vibrant again.
Criticism comes your way without a shred of anything constructive in it.
You’ve gotten so caught up in the story you’ve forgotten who’s writing who. Until one day your characters rebel and attempt to throw you entirely off course. Worse than a rabbit trail, this is a career direction detonator. (A key time to listen because characters always have something interesting to teach us, but ultimately to also remember whose boss.)
Rejections, people who promised to be you’re biggest support but who fail to meet your expectations, the love of writing shriveling like embers turned to ash. Somewhere along the way you mistakenly substituted love of craft for so many other seductive loves—approval, acceptance, validation, timing, attention, etc.
Date looming and your mind draws a big fat blank. You feel like you’re writing for the man. A machine. The romanticism of the craft is stripped away.
Dead end Delusion
With writing there is no end in sight. It’s all about exploration and learning and discovery. But there’s nothing like the publishing industry to fool a writer into entertaining these familiar thoughts:
“I’ll be happy when…
I finish my novel
I get an agent
a house buys my book
I see my book in print
or my formatting is done for e-book
I meet my sales goals
I sell another book…”
& so the dance begins again.
I can’t. Therefore I won’t.
On the flip side, Joy Planters are:
Commitment to write through the highs and lows.
A “I’ll write no matter what I feel” attitude that presents opportunities for you to learn far more about yourself during the process than at the outcome.
Because it always comes back to choice.
You have a choice in this. Freedom to keep at it or to chuck the whole thing.
As for me and my mouse (bad computer humor), we will surf the lore.
What have you found to be a joy stealer during your writing journey? And a joy planter?
*photo by stock.XCHNG