Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Enjoying the Journey

I recently watched an interview with Jeff Bridges on the Colbert Report. When asked how he looks so great and relaxed after all this time, his answer was that his mother told him to enjoy his work and not take it too seriously. This resonated with me.

As writers, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We yearn for publication, strive to produce our best work, pour hours into social media to build that much needed platform—but what’s it all for if we don’t slow down enough, or lighten up enough, to enjoy the whole experience?

Ultimately it doesn’t matter if I'm not doing it right according to someone else. It doesn’t matter if I can’t devote every waking minute to writing. It doesn’t matter if no one likes my stories. I love them and I get a deep satisfaction from writing them. When I let all the doubts and worries go, I also write a thousand times better.

So, paraphrasing Jeff Bridges’ mum, ‘Enjoy your writing and don’t take it too seriously.’

What helps you to remember to enjoy your writing?

Note: This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The group was formed by Alex J. Cavanaugh for writers to encourage each other. 

Giveaway: Theresa Milstein is holding a fabulous giveaway to celebrate her 4 milestones: blogiversary, 600+ follower count, new gradate class, and new job. Pop on over and enter HERE.

69 comments:

  1. What a great piece of advice, imagine spending all that time writing and not enjoying it.
    I'm planning to smile - I'll see if I can fit it in to my schedule ;)

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  2. It sounds so obvious, but it's one of those things that easily gets lost under all the things we 'have' to do.

    I'll try to remember this :-)

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  3. That is really sage advice from The Dude. We get too tightly wound, we'll explode.

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  4. That's great advice! I've been really stressing lately and needed to read this.

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  5. Jeff Bridges is one of my favorite actors. He brings classy brilliance to every role. Great message!

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  6. Wow, you really smacked my hands on this one, Lynda. I'm SUPER guilty of taking all of this way too seriously, thereby hurting more than helping my work. For me, I have to back off, refocus, read some of my favorite old books off the keeper shelf, remember why I wanted to start all this in the first place. It wasn't for publication, and it certainly wasn't for fame and glory. The writing, the stories, and the love of both--that's why.

    Great post.

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  7. What an awesome piece of advice, and so true - I'm definitely guilty of taking it way too seriously. I think what reminds me to enjoy my writing is actually writing. When I'm in the throes of creation, I forget all about the "I'm not good enough" and "I have to make this perfect so an editor/agent/whoever else will like it" and "this is ridiculous - it's too hard to get published" and all the other myriad destructive thoughts that pound through my head. Blogging, too, helps me a lot. Thanks for the encouragement! :-)

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  8. With anything, it's important that you enjoy it, or you won't be good at it. It's true for acting, singing, writing, teaching, physics, nursing--pick anything in the universe and I'm sure that, were you to hire that professional, you would want them to enjoy what they do. We do need to work and stick to schedules and goals, but we also need to remember why we started this in the first place. Great post!

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  9. Oh yes. I sometimes see writers getting so bitter. What's the point? An excellent reminder.

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  10. I love Jeff Bridges (and the Colbert Report, for that matter)! What a great reminder~ thanks for sharing it!

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  11. I love love love what you've written here. I have been working on enjoying the things in my life more, but I hadn't thought to include writing in that. I make myself nuts about it. So thank you for this.
    Karen

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  12. Thank you Lydia and thank you Jeff (gorgeous man!!) for such wise and good words! I remember I enjoy writing when I read a story and think to myself "hey, that ain't bad, it could be worse but it ain;t!" :-) Take care
    x

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  13. Love the message. So simple and yet so true.

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  14. Awesome post. I think what helps to remind to enjoy writing is to actually write. To stop worrying and procrastinating and get on with it!

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  15. yep, take it easy should be the main motto of all of us.
    I didn't notice Jeff Bridges looks great, who told him that lie? :PPPP

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  16. I write because it relaxes me and its a way for me to express myself to the wold. And like Bridges, I enjoy what I do.

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  17. I've been in the uptight swing of things lately. I need to get back to writing "just for me" for awhile I think. That is when I'm at my best. Good advice today. :)

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  18. If we don't enjoy writing, what's the point? Well said.

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  19. It sounds so simple, but this post made me realize that I have not enjoyed my writing for a long time. I have been too concerned with edits and whether or not this story will be good enough. I need to take a step back and rediscover the joy I had in just telling a story. Thanks!

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  20. YES. I work very hard at my writing, getting in between 2 and 4 hours a day, and sometimes my husband cautions me. He doesn't want me to burn out, or turn it into a chore. But when I have a bit of free time, writing is all I want to do! I can't wait to get back to my story. I love it, I enjoy it, and so the time I spend working is more like playtime for me. :)

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  21. Love this bit of wisdom.

    I also like Jane Yolen’s “Butt in chair” (BIC). : )

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  22. My love for the craft is what sees me through at the end of the day.

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  23. Thanks for the reminder. I took the day off internet today and just sat down and scribbled out a few things..felt immediately better!

    For you and your readers: an invite to The Rule of Three Blogfest ---a month-long extravaganza in the fictional town of Renaissance this October, with some great prizes, comment love, and of course, a lot of exposure for your writing.

    Check it out! :)

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  24. Excellent reminder! It's way too easy to get frazzled and have tunnel vision. Gotta enjoy life--and enjoy our writing. :)

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  25. What a great reminder! My family is what helps me to stay balanced and to enjoy each day as it comes.

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  26. I enjoyed that interview too. Connections help me enjoy writing — when you write something that a person can relate too — what a thrill.

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  27. That is my main goal in life - to enjoy my work (whether it be writing or not) and not take it too seriously.

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  28. Such great advice and exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you for this!

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  29. Great advice! I think in the social media, in particular, you can tell the people who enjoy it from the people who are doing their job. Some people do their job really really well and can be very helpful, but the infectious ones I look forward to seeing day in and day out are having fun, at least a good part of the time.

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  30. Great advice! I've been hearing similar advice from around the blogosphere recently - maybe I should take a hint and enjoy my writing. :) Thanks for this post, it's really helpful!

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  31. It's the writing itself that often reminds me how enjoyable it can be--nothing beats expressing myself through words. :)

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  32. Elaine, a plan to smile--I love it.

    Sarah, that right, it does get so easily lost.

    Alex, and exploding gets messy ;)

    Clarissa, me too. I think that's why it resonated with me so much.

    Karen, he does!

    Alyssia, brilliant! (and hugs)

    Crystal, yes! Creativity is a wonderful thing.

    Tiffany, well said.

    Deborah, thanks

    Jess, he is brilliant, isn't he :)

    Karen, I smiled reading that writing makes you nuts. Me too ;)

    Old Kitty, gotta love the "could be worse, but it ain't" factor ;)

    Liz, thanks

    Ellie, getting on with it is the best thing we can do :)

    Dezzy, you made me laugh with your comment.

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  33. Amen! It seems like your read my mind on this post. Glad to know that I'm not alone in the fretting department :)

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  34. I saw that Colbert. It was great inpsiration. We do have to remember to enjoy the journey.

    I like your stories. So, you're not the only one. :)

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  35. Stephen, awesome!

    Luanne, same here. Thanks.

    Angelina, thanks

    Melissa, edits can have that impact on us.

    Shallee, it's a wonderful feeling to have that excitement about a story, isn't it :)

    Nikki, thanks

    Jeff, me too! :)

    Damyanti, it's funny how just a little bit of writing time makes a world of difference.

    Carol, exactly

    Tonja, thanks

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  36. Isis, it's good to have that family support.

    Stacy, a thrill, yes, exactly!

    Emily, it's a good goal.

    Cynthia, that's great to hear :)

    Hart, yes, it does show. Plus it's easier to connect with people who aren't too serious too.

    Bethany, yes, you should ;)

    Golden, that's so true.

    Sam, you discovered my secret--I found this mind-reading device and it's come into good use. ;)

    M Pax, thanks so much, Mary :)

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  37. I've been writing long enough that I finally came to the realization that life's too short to let rejections or less-than-desirable critiques ruin my day--or week or month! I found that when I set high expectations, I'm usually setting myself up for disappointments. So I try to make a point to enjoy the journey. I'm not expecting to be a best-selling author, but if it happens, then hot dog. I enjoy simple accomplishments and love visiting schools and reading my short stories to kids and talking about writing and encouraging them to read and write and use their imaginations. It's fun to give and not focus so much on myself. And when I started blogging, I did it just to give it a shot and decided from the get-go that if it wasn't fun, I wasn't going to keep at it. Well, I'm pleasantly surprised at how much fun it is and meeting so many wonderful people and getting an education that I couldn't get anywhere else from reading all the blogs. So it's another enjoyable writing aspect that enriches my life. Yay!

    I love the idea of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Great idea that Alex came up with!

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  38. I like the idea of taking advice from Jeff Bridges :-) I've *got* to stop feeling so rushed all the time, as if there are deadlines hanging over my head. The editing *will* get done, whether I barrel through it or not... Thanks for this post!

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  39. Hi LInda. I like your relaxed take on this and I'm coming to the same conclusions. We write because we can't not, but the more we read the more confusing all that advice is.

    Denise

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  40. I remember I love writing because every time I get so excited every time I start a new story or finish a draft.

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  41. I rekindle my love of writing through reading. I start reading stories by others and I think about how awesome and fun it is to create my own. I'm easy to please :P

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  42. Wow! That one simple bit of advice really sums it up. Now if we could all just put it into action ...

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  43. I think that's why I lost my mojo because I started getting too intense about it. So true! :O)

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  44. Great advice! I find that the older I get, the less concerned I am with other people's opinions.

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  45. Amen, great post! Stressing out isn't worth it:) The Dude abides;)

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  46. actually... it's hearing back from my betas and critters! Their enjoyment of my stories gets me all fired up to do it again~ :D great post, Lynda~

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  47. Here here! That's been a problem lately, being too serious and it brought on a serious bout of writer's block. There's no other way to do it eh?

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  48. I need to take that advice and relax a little. I have a deadline and I didn't know it would make me freak out as much as it has. Maybe a handful of chocolate would help me out. ;)

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  49. Lynda - nicely said and great advice. Looks like everyone else thinks so, too!

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  50. Lynn, you are a smart cookie :) Life is definitely too short to let those things ruin our day. And yes, blogging is so much fun.

    Deniz, yep, rushing ourselves doesn't help.

    Denise, so, so true.

    McKenzie, awesome!

    Jamie, that's a great way to recall the love of writing.

    Tracy, ha, yeah, it would be nice, wouldn't it? ;)

    Madeleine, I hope you got your mojo back!

    Susan,and that's a good thing :)

    Tiffany, Thanks for the tag

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  51. Mark, you are right--stressing out is so not worth it.

    LTM, now that's awesome!

    Crystal, yep, writer's block is a sure sign of putting too much pressure on yourself.

    Carolyn, I like the way you think--chocolate is the cure for all ails. ;)

    Maeve, thanks

    Jeff, amen, indeed.

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  52. I remind myself that writing is supposed to be my "outlet" from everyday life. And when writing stops being enjoyable for me, I take a break from it until I'm ready to do it again.

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  53. This was a great lesson, Enjoy your life!!! Thanks

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  54. A great piece of advice, Lynda. One we should constantly remind ourselves, especially during moments of stress and frustration.

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  55. I just gave you a blog award, Lynda. Come and git it! www.gailshepherd.blogspot.com

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  56. It helps for me to turn everything off and immerse myself for a while. I easily rediscover the joy when I do that. :)

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  57. Whoo, this is definitely a problem I have. I get so wrapped up in wanting to "get somewhere" with my writing that sometimes I forget how much I love it. Sometimes for me it take stepping back from whatever I'm working on as far as working toward submitting to just write something for fun that's just for me. Often, that break will let me get back into my actual WIP.

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  58. I saw that interview and I have to say I agree! I decided a long time ago that even if no one else ever reads my stories I'm still going to write them, because I love them, and I love the characters, and they make me happy :)

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  59. I go along with your philosophy and that's pretty much the way I approach it. Still it is nice to create some highly marketable product that will produce income. But if we don't enjoy what we are doing then it's just toil.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  60. This is great and I've said more than once...if you're not enjoying it, then why the hell are you doing it?

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  61. Jeff Bridges’ mum was spot on when she said, ‘Enjoy your writing and don’t take it too seriously.’We ALL need reminded of this, Lynda. Thanks for the encouraging post!
    Pam at www.2encourage.blogspot.com

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  62. When I stop worrying about marketing and publishing, or using the word 'was' too many times, I have a good time with it and can get lost for hours!

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  63. That is such a cool image of Jeff Bridges.

    I think I'm actually too busy enjoying the journey to let the other stuff impede my love of what I do. This isn't always the case, but for the most part, it is.

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  64. Great post and awesome advice! We do tend to forget that we went this way for fun in the first place and got caught in the race.

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  65. Lauren, I find breaks essential too.

    Kim, so nice to see you here. Thanks for stopping by,.

    Rachna, thanks

    Gail, thanks so much for the award!

    Susan, yes! immersion is a wonderful thing.

    Colby, yes exactly, breaks help us to step back and remember the joy.

    Rebecca, personally I think that's the most important thing.

    Lee, and toil will cause us to burn out faster than anything else.

    Marsha, exactly

    Pam, hugs

    jbchicoine, haha I can relate to your 'was' troubles.

    Suze, that's fantastic to be able to say that. :)

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  66. This is a great reminder to enjoy writing and life itself!

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