It’s finally happened – I’ve forgotten the joy of writing!
Guess I should be glad it happened sooner for me than later.
You see, I started my writing life a long time ago though I didn’t know it then. As with most, writing first came by way of elementary school. There, we all had to learn to write short, simple and heavily-guided sentences by our well-meaning, though sometimes very scary teachers who came with long thick wooden rulers!
[Sorry if I’ve pricked a bitter memory for you.]
As we moved through the school years from one level to another, the sentences became longer and more difficult. We were accosted, even threatened if our writings did not evolve beyond the simple. It was as if we were being groomed to become English professors or grammarians, or worse, lawyers!
Each sentence had to be paragraph-like in length; each word had to contain at least four syllables; and the vocabulary used had to be Shakespearean or downright bombastic!
Thankfully the school years did eventually conclude, and we were finally set free as adults to write whatever we chose. By then of course most had any potential passion or joy for the craft of writing sucked right out of them.
So, other than the requisite work-related document or email, writing would probably be at the bottom of most people’s To-Do or Wish List.
The Joy of Writing – a dirty little secret!
Thankfully, I kept my passion and joy for writing, though always like it was a dirty little secret I couldn’t tell a soul.
Which was fine by me.
Cause back then, my daily journals and diary entries were written for one audience and one audience only – me!
[Okay okay, I mean if God wanted to take a sneak peek, who am I to stop Him, right?!]
But like I had posted recently, I found the act of just sitting before an empty computer screen to create typesets across a page a challenge I enjoyed rising up to.
What happened you ask?
Well, this blog that’s what!
Now don’t get me wrong. Starting and sustaining this blog is part and parcel of my writing life, my forever project. That much I’m clear about since my first post last year.
However, I have come to the point all writers new or season come to eventually. I have started to write for attention, even affection, of readers I wish would follow me faithfully. I’ve ceased to write for writing’s own sake. And so, correspondingly, my joy for writing has waned!
The constant clamour for recognition and “likes” had imperceptibly crept into my every blog attempt in recent months, making this a publicity project rather than a passion project. It’s even informed the way each of my blog post is now structured and presented (yes even this very one you’re now reading, to be perfectly honest!)
Write to my passion, not my publicity
In his book You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One), my blog coach Jeff Goins identified the paradox writers like me now face: that the more I clamour for readers, the lower my chances for actually attracting them.
Instead, my focus should always be the simple joy of writing, creating and spreading the passion and the words because I firmly believe in the intrinsic power they have.
The power to provoke.
The power to change.
The power to pleasure.
The power to give life and meaning.
Writing simply for the joy of doing so, without hypocrisy or the need to please others. Ignore this Jeff warns, and I would struggle to regain the simple joy of writing that captured me since way back.
So now that I’ve gotten my head screwed back on straight sooner rather than later (thanks coach!), I resolve to write from now on for writing’s innate pleasure.
For the joy of writing.
If readers come, they come. If they don’t, they don’t.
C’est la vie!