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Some thoughts on Joy (part 1)


Given my plans for my blog, I expect I'll have many posts about my own personal reflections about the joy I find in writing, so today's post can be marked part one, of who knows how many!


If a stranger were to knock on my door today and say, "excuse me, ma'am" (though I think myself a bit young for ma'am), "how do you feel about writing?" I might answer: "I love writing. It's what gets me out of bed in the morning during the week. It brings me unparalleled joy." And I would mean every word.

Some days, though, the actual feeling I get when I think about {my writing} is not joy. Some days, the emotion I feel about {my writing} is closer to guilt, or overwhelm, or despair. For me, these feelings bloom, ultimately, from poisonous thoughts that have taken residence in my head. I feel guilty because I had an off week and I did not produce as much as I would have liked. I feel overwhelmed because I want to finish X by Y, and I either unfairly doubt my abilities, or I set unreasonable goals that cannot be met. I feel despair because I'm unhappy in some other area of my life, and I want writing to solve all of my problems but it hasn't.

Today, I feel all three of these things about {my writing}, to varying degrees. So what am I going to do about it?

Step one: I sat down to write out my feelings, and I already feel my chest relaxing.

Step two: I examined the origins of these emotions and the thoughts that goad them on. They are lies I've told myself, or unfair expectations I hold for myself and for Writing itself, as a pursuit or experience.

Step three: I will replace my thoughts with new ones.

Isn't it lovely that, during a week where I felt so unhappy about my day job, and my thoughts were so scattered, I still managed to get myself into my chair in the morning and edit one chapter over the week? How persistent I am to labor on like that, chipping away one word at a time. Aren't I lucky to have so many loving, supportive family members who anxiously await the day that I am ready to share my story with them? And look at how blessed I am to have found writer friends who want nothing more than to lift up everyone around them. Don't I know, from a deep well of truth at the center of me, that I will make my way through this manuscript?

Step four: I will remind myself, as needed, of what I know to be true.

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Writing does so much for me, but this is a partnership. I have to do my part to protect Writing from the unhelpful thoughts that can creep into my head. Only I can let {my writing} be the joyous, beautiful force it is in my life. And only I can seek out and accept whatever help it is that I might need to do my part in protecting {my writing}. For today, this has been enough. I can feel it in my chest.

#joy #health

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