Call to Arms

I try to resist making New Year’s resolutions, but while running on New Year’s Day, I was not immune to thoughts of who I am versus who I want to be. It hit me that it would be good for me to focus on acceptance this year, but not in the way you might expect.

You might think that I’d work toward acceptance of some aspect of my life over which I have no control: the publishing world, the agenting world, how soon Homeland returns for Season 4. But I’m not talking about accepting the things that bug me, but which I cannot change.

Lately, I’d been wondering: what is the point of writing fiction when there’s no clear result? I don’t know why I’m so results-oriented. Maybe there’s some deep-seeded Puritan DNA inside me that demands concrete, practical results from what I do. For whatever reason, I fight with my need to write because spend a lot of time writing, but I don’t make money from it.

The thing is —I crave the act of writing and I feel good when I’m writing.

The choice of whether to spend time writing fiction or not could be more complicated than that, but does it need to be? I’m sure I will always struggle with rejection (something I cannot control) and with balancing the time spent on writing against the time needed to do everything else that keeps my life working (something I can control), but perhaps it’s time to stop questioning whether or not writing deserves space in my life.

This call to arms, you see, is not a raising of swords. It’s an act of embracing what I do well, rather than keeping it locked out in the cold until it agrees to pay up. It’s time to accept my gifts and to stop wondering: what’s the point? After all, does a gorgeous sunset have a point? Some experiences bring us joy. And that is point enough.

Twilight on Long Lake

Twilight on Long Lake

15 responses to “Call to Arms

  1. I like your resolution! You can say the same thing about running as writing, and both are things you enjoy. (On the other hand, I enjoy writing but I don’t enjoy running.) Sometimes, when you start to make money, you stop enjoying the writing as much, because there’s so much more pressure and some of that pressure is writing things that really aren’t fun to write.

  2. This is what I’ve been trying to say when we talk about writing, only not as eloquently. :) We must be writers. That’s all.

  3. Great post, Laura. I especially love this part: “This call to arms, you see, is not a raising of swords. It’s an act of embracing what I do well, rather than keeping it locked out in the cold until it agrees to pay up.” That’s such a powerful image!

    It seems so simple to say that it’s important to do the things that make us happy, but it’s so easy to let that pervasive, results-oriented mindset creep in. I often find myself justifying the time I spend reading by convincing myself of the results (I’ll learn techniques for my own writing, I’ll be able to recommend more books to my students, I’ll have more motivation to work out if I can read something I like while I’m on the elliptical) when really the truth is that I just want to read. Your post reminds me that the things we love doing (writing, reading, running, baking, etc.) are worth doing simply because we love them. It’s impossible to control or anticipate where these things will lead us, but that’s not the point. Thanks for sharing these thoughts and happy new year!

    • Laurie, thanks for your comment! It does seem that it should be simple or easy to embrace what we love, but our culture demands productivity. I’m glad to have friends like you to remind me of balance :)

  4. I love this point and the resolve behind it. The point of creating something beautiful is for the enjoyment of oneself and others. The world needs more joy. I totally agree about the need to embrace this act. :-D

    • Yes, the world needs more joy! I thought about amazing works of art and incredible pieces of music and mind-boggling architecture — all of which are designed to bring us joy — and maybe encourage us to think. More of that, I say!

  5. What a lovely post and an important message. Just earlier today, I said, “What’s the point?” but, like you, am happy when I write and thrilled when I connect with children. Combining writing with my ability to relate to kids at every age (truly), I have been trying to combine my passions into a career. But, why is that path seemingly impossible to find? I sooo believe in my writing, but the publishing process is fraught with self-doubt. What to do? In addition to eating less sugar in 2014, I want to be happy as many days as I can. And that means I must write.

    • Yes! If you know it brings you happiness, you owe it to yourself. Belief in yourself is a powerful aid in the process. The career aspect can be difficult, but keep at it. I’ll be curious to know if less sugar will equal more creativity. I’m so glad you stopped by :)

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