Is Writing Your Joy?
Of course, I don’t expect writing to be your one and only joy, but is it still a joy? I think writers begin writing in a frenzy of excitement and joy and emotion. We daydream of conversations between our hero and heroine. We doodle grimaces on napkins while we think of our antagonist and his wily ways. I can personally attest to losing days worth of sleep in the name of writing. I’ve spent countless hours contriving events to break my beloved MCs heart, only to shed tears along with her as it unfolds, then hoot aloud in victory when she overcomes. I mean, when true love conquers all, good wins the battle, and my broken character stands tall and confident once again, I am instantly seven-years-old, spinning in my mother’s garden, face to the brilliant sun, arms out in the breeze and joy-filled beyond the constraint of human words.
And then there’s what’s happening now.
Today, I finished reading my tenth novel in as many days, and though reading is many things, including therapeutic and researchy and entertaining, today I realized I was hiding. I’ve been hiding from writing, completely avoiding the very thing that brings me joy. Why would a writer ever do that? There are probably a myriad of reasons, but mine was fear and paralysis.
Writing, blogging, and social networking, in the name of publication – or the dream and hope of publication, has rendered me wordless, and I’ve been avoiding my joy. Questions are mounted in my mind today, and I can’t answer them. What should I write now? I have a manuscript out with an agent. But what now? Do I begin a sequel to something without a contract? That seems silly. Should I work on one of several WIPs I love, but stopped for various reasons? Do I work on the YA mystery I love? My previous work wasn’t YA. Am I limited to women’s fiction now?
I reason that being unpublished makes me unbranded and free, but that freedom comes with paralysis for me. I have no idea where to go from here, and this is where my initial question comes in. Where’s the joy?
Well, I love to write, so I need to write, and this is the advice I’m offering to anyone else who feels a little paralyzed in their writing joy. Write what you love because you love it. Write for the joy it brings you and nothing more. Cuddle it and polish it and send it off with all the love you can because it is an extension of you, a piece of your heart, your hard work, and a show of your creativity. After all, wouldn’t a writer writing without joy be like a marriage without love? Bland. Empty. A void.
Now, I’m taking my own advice. I’ve shared my paralysis with you and I’m headed back to the YA Mystery which had me smiling before I gave into the “What ifs” of this industry and walked away from her. I’m putting down my library books and picking up MY book.
Writing is my joy, my release, my escape, and today I’m reclaiming it as exactly that.
~~ Julie Lindsey
Bio: Julie Anne Lindsey is a Midwestern wife, a homeschooling mother of 3, and an all around caffeine addict. She’s also an unpublished author blogging her journey to publication at Musings from the Slush Pile, (http://blog.juliealindsey.com/)where she shares writing tips, author interviews, personal experience, and opening chapters from her works.