As I admitted in Incidents and Accidents last month, not very much writing has happened for the past while. On June first, full of hope and excitement, I told myself I was going to turn over a new leaf and write (even just a tiny little bit) every day that month as a warm-up for Camp NaNoWriMo, which I wanted to attempt this July. (Spoiler alert: I’m not doing NaNo this month because I’d like to hang on to my sanity just a little while longer, thanks.) Long story short, I’ve had writer’s block bad for the past couple of weeks, and pressuring myself to write when I had neither the motivation nor the energy to do it did nothing but make me miserable and just gave me one more thing to feel guilty aboutr.
Then today God reminded me of a little secret: He loves me, even if I don’t end up pumping out a bestseller (or even any book), ever.
I don’t know quite when I stopped writing for the sheer fun of it and began to worry about whether my work was publishable. It was probably a very slow transition, my dreams of publication moving from the nebulous far-off and shiny future and into the realm of right-now worries and stresses. I stopped caring about writing a good story because it is satisfying and brings me joy, and instead I cared about writing a perfect “publishable” story that everyone would love. I stopped caring about using good grammar and writing elegant prose because I love to play with words and get them to sound just so, and instead worried about whether anyone would even want to read what I wrote, or if they would find it too clunky, too flowery, or too sparse.
Suffice to say, it is time for a shift of perspective. A re-set, if you will. It is time to let the future stay in the future. I can dream – and dream big – but I do not need to carry around the weight of feeling that I have failed in some way if I am not clearly hurtling towards realizing my dreams right this moment. It is time to set my dreams of publication back on the shelf where they belong, and to return to my story with new eyes and complete freedom. It is time to write without caring if anyone in the whole wide world ever wants to publish a word of it. It is time to get back to the real reason why I write. Because, to paraphrase/steal from Eric Liddell, when I write, I feel His pleasure.
That is why I write. And what a good Father God is to remind me of it just when I needed.