Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every other Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:
I’ve been reading an interest book lately called The Book of Joy. It’s a book that is an interfaith dialogue between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, each an important figure in their respective religions, Christianity and Buddhism.
One of the things that has already stuck and inadvertently been applied to my own life as a realization of late is this:
Suffering produces joy.
What does this mean? Because it sounds contradictory. But think about it—women who have children go through the process of childbirth (pain), but are so happy to have the new addition to their family, that many women opt to go through extreme pain more than once in order to have more than one child.
But it hurts! Why go through it?
Because suffering produces joy.
So this week, we are going to talk a little bit more about how suffering through torment can actually bring you real joy.
In the THE POWER OF PERSISTENCE: WHY WRITER’S BLOCK IS A LIE, PART 1, I ended by talking about the importance of persisting—persisting in your writing, in your passion.
There’s a quote that I absolutely love that I want to share with you:
When I first saw this, I was surprised I hadn’t written it first. It completely describes my relationship with writing. Well. Maybe not completely. But a large portion of the time for sure. People say “enjoy the journey,” but it’s hard to enjoy the journey when you’re trying to balance a job, relationships, consuming food, sleeping, relaxing, etc., on TOP of trying to write your novel or other written work.
Think about it: what you’re doing is pretty dang amazing. Before, in the middle of, or after one or all of these things, you’re trying to squeeze in the time to be a writer.
You’re making time to work more by going after your dreams. And that’s a hard decision.
Each day you overcome the urge to sit back and only daydream about your writing is a victory. Each time you come to the computer, or your notebook, after a long day of already having to use your brain for a multitude of other tasks is a victory. It is a victory to write, and you are championing each time you choose to do so, when each day something threatens to take your attention away from it.
Your suffering, your purposeful foregoing of other pleasures, like socializing, binging on your favorite shows, etc. is not for naught—each time you make the choice to write, you are one step closer to the completion of your project, your novel, your book.
To write is often to be lonely. To feel isolated. To have to be self-satisfied with a job well done. It often means you can’t rely on others for proper praise, because only you know how long it took you to write those last 1,000 words, or how many times it took you to choose the write word, or how many times you took away and then reinserted that pesky comma that actually changed the meaning of something so simultaneously subtly and dramatically.
To write is to often be at war with oneself; to be a writer is to choose writing above all else that seeks to claim our attention.
But let’s look at that statement for a moment: to be at war. The end of a war results in what? A resolution of conflict. A time of peace.
I urge you, then, to take up your arms, if only for a time so that you have your resolution—so you can have your peace.
Resolve your conflict by stepping through it. Living through it. Writing through it. Warring through it.
After all, through great suffering comes great joy. And joy, unlike happiness, is not so fleeting.
Alyssa Grace Moore
You can also find Alyssa on Twitter: @alyssagracem
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