The Importance Of Joy. Seriously.

Smile

I smashed against the impenetrable wall of writer’s block a week ago, and have been spending these last few days picking up scattered teeth and piecing my battered soul back together again. I do apologize for my absence. It was entirely my fault.

Well, now. Smile. There we go. Good as new.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you, dear reader, like the pompous little lass that I am, about what I learned from this particularly awful slump. I know that the title of this post is rather hackneyed. Words like ‘joy’ and ‘happiness’ have been tossed around so much in the great self-help salad of the internet that they have all but lost their sparkle. Let’s see if I can rub some warmth back into these cold, limp bodies, shall we? Sorry for the tone of voice in this post, by the way. I still have a chip in my tooth, and it makes all my words come out high-fluting and whistle-y.

But. Yes. Joy. Most important. Our culture tends to have a grit-our-teeth-and-do-the-hard-work mentality. We don’t skate between the trees; we pummel and crash through them, plowing them down and shouting, with blood frothing at our lips, “Out of my way!”, leaving a wake of uprooted trunks and trampled squirrels in our wake. Maybe this stems from capitalism, and the unsavory occupations people are often forced to take to survive, or maybe this mentality is instilled within us by our authoritative figures such as our parents. You know what I mean. To achieve success, one must suffer, sacrifice. When you write, blood shall bead on your forehead. Play the guitar until your fingers bleed. Burn the midnight oil and pore over manuscripts until your eyes shrivel in your head. No pain, no gain. You get the idea.

This might work for some people. Maybe it even works for you. After collapsing from exercise, limbs jittery and muscles aching and trembling, one can derive a good deal of satisfaction in the knowledge that they are making themselves fitter, healthier and better-looking. But I have realized, that without joy, many things are not worth doing, especially creative endeavors.

This epiphany was the culmination of many days of agony. I had been trying to yank stories out of their metaphysical wombs with little to no success, banging away at my keyboard with the ferocity of a drunken piano player. Rubbish spilled across the screen, and I lay, every night, in a stupor of ruptured dreams and broken hopes, bleeding great dark streams of despair. And suddenly, I woke up one weekend and realized I was having no fun at all. The passion behind the writing had dissipated. I had turned it into work, a mere chore. I’d lost the sparkle that had dazzled and lured me to writing in the first place.

Now I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t do things that make you feel bored or are hard. But no matter what you do, you should find a seed of enjoyment in it, because only from that can true good work sprout. Only from that can you truly live. There’s no point in agonizing over every action, every word. I don’t know what task you’re struggling with in your life, but whatever it is, try to inject some playfulness and joy into it. I wish I could say that it’ll solve all your problems, but it won’t – it’ll just make them easier to deal with. When you get lost, instead of tearing your hair out and screaming at people traveling with you, treat it as an adventure. If you hate your job and can’t find a better alternative at the moment, make it fun – pretend you’re undercover, luxuriate in the nice feel of fingers tapping on keyboards. Find the happiness within the muck. Arrange the muck into a dripping, muck-colored snowman, if only to amuse yourself.

And if you’re a writer…well, I’m hardly a seasoned one, but I truly believe that you should only do work that bursts out of your heart in leaps of joy. Write stuff that excites you. Write what makes your heart tinkle. It is how I broke through my block, and perhaps will help you break through yours. Just a thought.

I wish you all happiness.

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2 thoughts on “The Importance Of Joy. Seriously.

  1. Thank you for another awesome post 🙂
    I’m so glad I can come on here when I’m feeling down. Reading the kind of things that I connect with so deeply can have such a profound effect.

    From my perspective, I feel there’s no need for you to apologize for your absence, but the fact that you did reveals how important this all is for you. Believe me, it’s quite likely that a lot of the people reading your posts have been there before. I definitely have, so many times, but basically with just life in general. I’ve earned a reputation as the guy who simply disappears now and then, and although I’m blessed with some close friends who never hold it against me, I’d really like to develop consistency in my life. Which is why I feel you have no need to apologize, because it’s not as unusual as one might think. We’re all in this together 🙂

    I totally relate to what you said about the whole “no pain, no gain” kind of stuff. I often find myself confused and in awe of those who seem to be able to tackle the daily grind like it’s a piece of cake. I couldn’t even finish high school, and some of these people are getting Ph.D’s and what not!!!!! Or even just an office job with the overtime and all that stress. Those crazy Judger’s and their routines!! Although… for the longest time I would envy them. And wish I could be like them. I laughed at myself the other day, a couple years ago I wanted to be all structured and disciplined so I started to brainstorm how I could schedule my day. I thought that the Military schedule would be good, and also thought about the Prison schedule (only because Prison officials don’t put up with any crap, prisoners in general actually have a lot of downtime and nothing to do) and so I looked it up on google and found a Military Prison daily schedule, and I was like “PERFECT!!!”
    It didn’t work well at all. It was way too much at once. And I really did try my best.
    It was then that I started to understand my temperament, and how I’m the kind of person who lives life like a candle in the wind. I could potentially have way more spontaneity than a lot of those 9-5+ work-a-holics. It’s something I want to appreciate and become thankful for. And of course, with all this being said, there’s definitely a measure of discipline one will need to make it in this world, it’s important as well as beneficial in a lot of ways, but at the same time, some people just aren’t cut out to live like they were in a Military Prison.
    I’ve been trying to think of it like an orchestra, there’s all those people playing all those different instruments, and all of them are important. If one group of instruments were to stop playing, it wouldn’t be the same. So yes, there are those people who by nature seem to pummel and crash through the trees, but where would they be without the dreamers who stand back and think about stuff and ask the important “outside-the-box” questions? The daily grind people are the musicians in the front, leading the way. We just so happen to be the INFP’s in the back, and although it doesn’t usually feel like it, we do indeed contribute an invaluable melody to the symphony of life.

    I also realize that I didn’t ever reply to the last comment that you gave me on another post, so I pulled it up in another window and I’m gonna reply in this comment.

    I’m gonna be 100% honest, as much as I hate to admit, I have used recreational substances in recent times. My life is always so much better without it, and it’s not a regular thing like it used to be, it’s just sometimes I end up going back to it. And I also live in Alberta Canada which is right next to B.C. which is kinda famous for it’s dope, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more people where I live who do it than people who don’t, so it’s not hard to come across at all. And I don’t blame you for considering trying it, that’s 100% your own decision, but at the same time I can’t truthfully say I’d recommend it if you’re anything like me. You have to make your own choices though. I will never judge you, ever, no matter what choices you end up making.
    I keep intending on never doing it again, but I just never replace the escapism with something productive and constructive, like for instance, as you said, reading.
    But I really want to start. I’m gonna go tomorrow to the book store and find something that looks interesting. And I’ll even tell you what I got in my next comment. I was also gonna ask what books you’ve been into recently, or any that you’d recommend, of course everybody’s different and has their own preferences, but I feel like we’re similar enough that I might enjoy some of the same books.

    Until the next time 🙂 Take Care!!!!!!!

    • No, thank you for reading. 🙂 I would love to hear about your book choices! I love talking about books. I wish people talked about books more. And in regards to recreational drugs, well, some part of me is curious as to what it would feel like, and the creative benefits. But I tend to think that it’s better to rely on other, more natural hallucinogenic substances, such as your imagination. Either way, do what makes you happy, and happy in the long term.

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