Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in A Writer's Life | 1 comment

Funny how things come together from vastly different sources when God is trying to get a point across to you.

This morning, in response to a friend’s post on Facebook, I went looking for the “Make Good Art” comic I’d seen a while back. Which of course led me to Neil Gaiman’s amazing 2012 keynote address. I’d read parts of it before, but never the whole thing.


I think every artist should read/watch this at least once or twice a year. So much wisdom. Actually, I think parts of it apply to everyone, no matter what your calling may be. Especially Stephen King’s advice:

“This is really great. You should enjoy it.”

That jumped off the page and whacked me right between the eyes.

See, my DH decided a few weeks ago to do this online goal-setting program, and I said, “Sure! I’ll do it too. Might as well.” Not that I thought it would work, but it might help a little. Anyway, before setting goals for the coming year, the program has you look back over the past year and note what was missing.

First thing that jumped out at me was “Joy.”

Despite everything I’d accomplished, there was very little joy in any of it. And after contemplating that for a while, I realized I really don’t enjoy life, period. Neither while I’m in the middle of creating, nor even afterwards. I push and push and stress to get something done, and then it’s marked off my to-do list and I’m on to the next project without taking time to lean back and appreciate what I’ve made.

Nope. No real joy anywhere. Maybe a few minutes of “Hey! Lookie what I did!”, but nothing more than that.

So what am I left with? Duty (“I have to do this–my family is depending on me”) and guilt (“I promised, so I have to do it now.”). However, anyone who has found themselves in that situation knows that accomplishing anything of worth with only duty and guilt as muses is doomed to failure.

A lack of joy not only makes living with me a drag (for friends and family), it also produces a downward spiral of self-limitation. A ginormous black hole of anti-creativeness. It sucks away my energy, and poisons the well of creativity I’m trying to access.

It was just a week or so ago that I learned 2015’s Major Life Lesson #1, which was:

“While I may be able to get something done faster/better/more efficiently by working by myself rather than accepting help from others, faster/better/more efficient is not nearly as important as my relationship with the people trying to help me.”

I guess 2015’s Major Life Lesson #2 is:

“This [creating something, and life in general] is really great. [I] should enjoy it.”

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One Comment

  1. Yes. This. This is a lesson I really, really need to learn.

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