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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moonlighting: Writing and Happiness

imageAs many know, I am writing a book. This week’s theme is “How to be happy,” so, I ask myself: Does my writing make me happy?

Happiness eludes me as I do the actual writing. Groping for the right word, forgetting the names of characters, forgetting what day it is (in the book and in real life), leaving a character out of a scene when he/she should have been there, and trying to give each character a unique personality tries my soul. Have I told you my brain is like a Teflon-coated sieve—yeah, I think I have. Writing for me is a grueling experience.

But, oh, when the right word is found, when a new plot twist reveals itself, when a character speaks to me in a new way, then the rejoicing begins. One thing I have found in my writing is that as I strive to glorify God, I draw closer to him. Peace and contentment surround me when I finish a particularly difficult section in my writing.

When I picked up my fifteen-year-old manuscript and dusted it off a year or two ago, I was filled with insecurities. Would anyone be interested in what I wrote? Would I have the necessary skills to write a novel, albeit a children’s novel? To begin with, I was timid about speaking (writing) to other writers, afraid of the blunders I might make, because my brain is like a yada, yada, yada.

But you know what? I may not be the sharpest hoe in the shed, but my thinking has improved during this time. Maybe there are not as many holes in the sieve as there once were. Maybe because I’m using my brain, I’ve quit losing it. My passion for writing has benefited my thinking ability and with that my confidence has grown.

And since I have written of James Herriot for the past two days, let me again mention him here. His books are well loved because he had both purpose and passion. He wanted to provide the best veterinarian care possible (his purpose) and he did so with compassion. He found happiness in his work and shared that happiness with us through his writing.

When we have a purpose in life and we work to fulfill that purpose, happiness ensues. We should all find the thing we’re most passionate about and pursue that with a…uh, passion.

Passion minus purpose equals frustration.

Purpose minus passion equals drudgery.

Purpose plus passion equals happiness.

I think I just made that up. And that produces happiness in me.

What’s your purpose in life? Are you fulfilling your passion?

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