Monday, January 11, 2016
Why Should We Ever Do Things We Don't Wanna?
Don't get me wrong, I'm also totally loving it, and being around real life people who have much the same passions and are on much the same trajectory as I am is wonderfully refreshing. I've said this before, but I'll say it again: I've learned so much about my own writing through just getting all this great feedback and there's no way I would have been able to learn it on my own. (I'm beginning to believe that basically the BEST thing you can do for yourself as a writer is to make sure you're in a good writing group.)
I've been thinking about the idea of doing hard things that we don't want to do, partially because I'm confronting a little of that myself (uuughh literary theory) but mostly because I think its such an odd cultural phenomenon in our modern society. We just aren't used to doing things we don't want to. Or not doing things that we really wanna.
Writers deal with this pretty regularly, I think. The most passionate writer still has areas they really don't enjoy. (Editing? Social media? We all have 'em). And we also have days where all we really want to do is pull up Netflix and watch the last season of Parks and Rec for the third time. (I really don't blame you. Leslie Knope is my idol, and Ben Wyatt is my squee. Plus, ya know, Chris Pratt.) So why don't we? Why should we ever deny ourselves when nobody's forcing us to sit in a chair and write? Why should we edit that bleeping chapter AGAIN when nobody has a gun to our head?
The solution, I think, is to take the longer view. Yeah, for this 6 hour period, I really, really, really just want to eat muffins and catch up on Downton Abbey, but tomorrow and next week and next month I will be very glad if I use these six hours to get in 750 words instead. Or, as another example, blogging and social media has been a real struggle for me lately. That stuffs not the most important part of a writing career, by any means, but its still important, and its been frustrating for me mostly because its typically been one of the parts I enjoy most. I LOVE blogging and talking to you guys, and posting on social media and interacting with intelligent people who love what I love. So why am I sitting here tonight writing this even though I'd much rather be reading? Because I know that first, its not really that difficult once I get into it, and also, the reward is fantastic. Brightening or enlightening one persons day is worth any effort I put into my little blog posts. That's the long view.
So maybe as we start this new year, we should start it with a little grit and courage. I'm going to try to, anyway. We can do the things we are afraid or impatient about doing. We can avoid doing things, even good things, to an extent that it takes us away from the most important things. There's a joy that runs much deeper than pleasure, and even though pleasure is important, I'm trying to remember not to sacrifice the one for the other.