Monday, September 20, 2010

More on Writing With Joy

When I first started writing, it was pure -- an acceptance of my lowly early apprenticeship status, an acceptance of how little I knew about writing, and a fluttering hope of being published but not expecting anything.

Now, twenty or more books later, in as many years -- oh, and a few awards and accolades too -- that pure state is harder to find.

My fault. It's when I get bogged down with outcomes, that the joy stalls. Bogged with thoughts of the publishing process (where to submit, etc), hopes for the success (big success -- hey, who dreams of failure, or even mediocre success?) of the novel or picture book, thoughts about the business side of writing and how to best get that book out there.

It's what I've heard the poet and author, Steven Heighton, refer to the secretarial side of writing, versus the sacramental side of writing.

There is a purity to the beginner mind -- it's more open to possibilities. It's less invested in measuring output against time, more open to exploration. That's where the joy is for me.

I need to periodically remind myself of that, even while I accept that the inevitable consequence of being an established author (ha! me established? I so don't feel it, even though that's how I'm regarded) is that the business side of things will keep intruding.

It's finding that balance. Not checking e-mail incessantly (who me?), not getting ensnared and entangled and lost in the countless distractions of the internet, or promotion.

Writing for the joy of it. Pure and simple. Sigh.

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