As a writer on a rather tumultuous journey, I wish I’d been told, somewhere along the way, that no matter what happens, keep the joy.
We get so wrapped up in the conquest, the achievements, the pursuit, that we often forget about happiness, fulfillment. That our emotional well-being plays a huge role in our overall success.
My dream is to become a published novelist. When it didn’t happen after one too many road blocks, I turned my back on writing. The burden of failure was so heavy that I couldn’t even find the joy I used to feel when I penned stories. Or maybe it wasn’t that I couldn’t find it. Maybe I figured enjoying writing was pointless if I couldn’t make my dream come true.
But if we can’t pave the path to our goals with joy, then that is pointless.
Mind you, even the best dreams have their downsides. There is no perfect job, no perfect career, no perfect life. But I have found that my soulful reasons for chasing my dream will get me through even the worst circumstances. When things aren’t going so hot and I’m losing faith, I ask myself things like:
Why am I on this particular journey?
What about my dream makes me come alive?
What fulfills me as I’m striving to reach my goals, even when those goals seem impossible to reach and I feel like I have not a drop of energy left?
Is my dream worth the junk, the crap, the hardships I have to endure?
Once I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to get my novel published, I actually moved forward with my writing career. There are many sites and platforms out there to help with career searching. I published some of my other work. I got into freelancing and I coach other writers on their fiction and non-fiction. I write for small business owners. I teach creative writing to kids in after-school enrichment programs.
Through all of this, I found the joy again. I missed writing so much that it made me sick in mind, body, and soul. That’s how I realized that the true joy, for me, is in the act, the process of writing. And now that I know what I love best about the craft, I’m back to pursuing my dream to be a novelist. The goals haven’t changed, but my attitude has.
Dream. Dream big if you want to. Be prepared for a long, hard chase. But make sure your trek is filled with other wonders, too. Wonders that will make your journey worth every stumble.
How about you? Are you keeping the joy in your journey?