Is there anything more thrilling than seeing your finished book for the first time? To stand there admiring that beautiful cover, to breathe in the smell of paper and ink, to feel the surprising heftiness of that book in your hands is one of those life events that can bring pure joy. Or at least I hope that’s the case for most of you. The flipside can be disappointment if it just doesn’t look or feel quite like you’ve been imagining since the first moment you started dreaming that you could actually create a book. Even writing that lives only as an eBook, is often imagined as it would appear on a tangible device such as an iPad or mobile phone. These visions are powerful and help to spur us on as we undertake the really hard work of spinning the creative impulse into an art form.
Set Your Writing Free
But I believe that the activity of writing is so valuable in elevating the collective human condition that it doesn’t need the end goal of a book always attached to it. As a former publisher and someone who has been in the book industry for 35+ years, it is such a relief to actually say this. For me, the process of writing is a path that brings me to my true nature and the ultimate purpose of life—a noble and important benefit if ever there was one. For instance, even writing this blog post, I’m aware that my purpose may be to reach one person today who may doubt the time they’ve spent writing. In my opinion, writing is one of the best things we humans can do that generally serves the common good.
As an example: my current reality is that I’m stuck for a two-hour layover at the Phoenix airport on my way to Salt Lake City. I’m perched on an uncomfortable stool sitting at one of those stations where everyone around me is anxiously looking for a place to charge their cell phone. People are lined up at each electrical outlet, jockeying for position and it’s a rather grim and somewhat desperate scene. Then I take out my laptop and start writing and I’m suddenly transported to a different and better reality. I can see my fingers flying across the keyboard, the letters begin forming words almost all by themselves and I’m absolutely delighted. I’m not the bedraggled traveler that I was just moments before but now a writer, a creator, a better version of myself.
The process of writing has been transformative for me, as I believe it is for most people. I suspect that you may be one of those people who are diligent in going about the work of writing. You may have goals in terms of how many pages or words you churn out each day/week/month. If you don’t hit your mark you may feel that you’re not living up to your potential. But I’m here to tell you that the fact that you’re writing in the first place elevates you above some of your peers who are not so engaged. In my view, you are a star, a more perfect person, someone who should be celebrated and encouraged.
Writing is Good for the Soul
So I encourage you to keep writing if for no other reason than to delight and bring wonder to your own soul. Feel free to take breaks from prescriptive writing goals that you’ve set for yourself and write about your current reality if only for a few minutes each day. If you’re in your office, look out the window and just describe the scene before you. If you have coworkers, key into conversations or sounds, and just reimagine the work that’s going on. These little breaks of unfettered consciousness should not cause any anxiety at all. Rather they should be delightful episodes that help relieve the pressure you may feel in not only crafting your writing but in just living your daily life.
We all know that the world needs as many delighted souls as we can find. Let your writing lead you to a happier place.
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