You were created to do what is on your heart. It's no accident you want to be a writer, a creator, an influencer. Those dreams aren't a mistake.
Steeping a hot mug of chamomile tea. Watching the steam curl away from it, dabbing the bag up and down, seeing the fog mist up my glasses. Letting my mind wander.
That moment is still half the joy of writing, I think. The good half.
The other half is gobbling food over my keyboard, trying to simultaneously type and stuff a chicken parm sandwich into my mouth as I race to meet my deadline. What pleasure.
I’ve found how important it is to make sure these two diametric experiences are in the fifty-fifty ratio. I can’t spend all my time daydreaming, and definitely not all my time writing. I have to give myself permission to enjoy the process of writing. “Just write” is wrong. It needs to be “Just write while daydreaming.”
“Just write” is wrong. It needs to be “Just write while daydreaming.”
I used to take my time writing stories as a kid because I got caught up in the breathtaking scenery I saw in my mind. I enjoyed living there. It started with my journaling, but it translated over in my novel writing as well. For example, here’s the first paragraph of the first novel I ever began when I was a kid, titled The Quest-Seeker of Heather Hollow:
“The wind was rollicking through the tired, old willows with great speed, teasing them and whispering to them, gloating of its mobility. In return, the willows shook their branches threateningly, answering that they preferred this condition. The willows stood on the edge of Heather Hollow—a rather small, quaint little affair, with bushes and trees bordering it; quite a fairy-tale little fantasy if there ever was one. Fragrant buds were blossoming everywhere on flowers and trees alike—yes, even on the old willows themselves—for it was spring. You could just feel it in the air, like the warm feeling of a birthday, or the mellow beauty of a prelude.”
Not Shakespearean writing, but I was young and enjoyed it. Even with this paragraph, I can still see Heather Hollow. Not because of the quality of the writing, but because of what inspired it and kept me going. My own imagination transported me to places I couldn’t go.
I was interested in writing first because of scenery. I enjoyed scenery whether the story mattered or not. In school, I would write a two-or-three-page essay of nothing but scenery just for fun. (It wasn’t exactly required—I was only supposed to write a single paragraph, but I had too much fun.)
Doing what you love takes effort, but we all know that. What’s harder to remember is that doing what you love takes love, too. It’s a waste to do something with no love behind it. Remember the “Love Chapter” in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13? That’s what it’s talking about.
So don’t forget the joy that first endeared you to what you love to do. Whatever it was—carefully stroking out your name on the bottom of your first watercolor painting with a big sable brush and splashy paint; chewing the crumbly eraser off your yellow pencil as you mused out your first poem; the soil that turned your hands brownish-black as you planted your first wildflower …
We can't forget this. If you’re doing it because you think you love it, you’ve lost sight of your love. Take your time. Smell the paper before you draw on it. Play the first song you wrote on the well-loved upright piano that never was quite in tune. Visit that breathtaking spot in the mountains that inspired you to become a photographer.
Doing your dream is hard work, but so is folding burritos in the back kitchen. You have a purpose. You have a calling. Go after it!
Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Cor 16:14 (ESV)