Given our time constraints–Sheri’s heading out to rake the leaves again as I write this, so the trick-or-treaters don’t slip and kill themselves tonight–writing can feel downright selfish.
This is normal. It will all be okay, I promise.
So you’re a little different. Like Frederick the Mouse, maybe, who collected words and images instead of corn and seeds for the winter. After all, you might reason, he would have starved without his friends doing all the work for him while he lazed around waxing poetic.
And that’s probably true.
I write a lot about the struggle of writing because that’s what it is–it’s hard. No one calls writing their “play.” It’s their work. It’s a slog through the thick mud of memory and the weight of personal hangups and fears the likes of which muggles can’t possibly imagine.
Last week, for instance, I wrote how it’s necessary to remember as a called worker that you go with God. He fills your sails and sets your course, and knowing that can relieve some of the inherent struggle.
But I think sometimes I camp on the hard work of writing to assuage my guilt for not doing more around the house, not being more helpful as kid-taxi, or just being generally checked-out when Sheri’s looking for something more than monosyllabic responses.
It’s guilt-inducing, this writing thing. And rather than being all hard work, I think the guilt can come from the fact that writing is also a lot of fun. Otherwise, we wouldn’t do it.
We too easily forget it, but writing can be a pure escapist fantasy. At its best, the creative process is full of fun surprises, discoveries we never would find otherwise. It can feel like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, al wrapped up in one. But even better than merely receiving, there’s the excitement of getting to play Santa and offer your fresh discoveries to someone who needs just those words and will one day happen upon them and be warmed.
I should get out to help Sheri before she’s done, but when I come back I’ll try to remember that when writing gets hard and we wonder why we put ourselves through it, the reason is as simple as the joy of finding hidden treasure, of figuring something out we hadn’t known before. And of getting to share it.
Finding a way through the darkness is always exhilarating. As confusing as things may get, and they will, achieving that unexpected escape will always be an endless thrill.
I pray you get to spend some time exploring and playing today.
For the Higher Purpose,