I was chatting with my hair stylist one time. She’s a sweet young woman and I consider us as much friends as client and professional. We talk easily. I share about my writing, my life, my kids, and my grandkids. Her son and my granddaughter are near in age, and we share a bonding over our common pride and love as we exchange funny anecdotes about these two remarkable young humans.
She was shampooing and massaging my scalp (she has the very best hands that make me go limp with relaxation) and I was chatting about a writing retreat that I enjoyed and the work I was doing. She smiled and said, “You’re really having fun with this, aren’t you?” Meaning my plunge into writing my fiction.
I was startled. I had not thought of it quite like that. I realized how wonderful it is that apparently the joy that I feel when pursuing stories, and the best words to relay them, is manifesting itself outwardly in how I present to the world. I find that deeply complimentary. That the joy is real and it is showing.
Don’t get me wrong. I struggle constantly, and I have to daily wrestle to the ground those Goliath-sized urges to procrastinate and avoid. These days, with all the dark clouds over my country, and the need to pay attention, to fight the good fight, Goliath seems to have put on a few pounds! But I can’t let him win, because, there are two deep wellsprings of joy in what I do.
One is pure and basic. I’m joyful that I am doggedly pursuing my dream, to tell a good story that some young person will read and perhaps, who knows, remember for the rest of their life. Just to be in pursuit of a dream, rather than being wishful and ineffective about it, is a source of joy. Even if the dream never comes true (publication) at least I have given it my best shot.
The second is a process of being in the joy, without thinking about it at the time. In other words, in the flow. This is the joy that comes when my fingers are flying across the keys and my eyes are seeing altogether different sights than what is across the room from me. It is when I hear those characters that I have gotten to know actually speaking to each other in my head. It is the flurry of ‘What if’ questions and the wild possibilities that emerge. The joy of the flow takes me fully outside myself, and that, my friends, is a real trip! Because it is the kid in me being allowed to come out and play.
My advice to you is to take this day and make time to play. It will do you no end of good, and make you ready to return to the good fight when you must.