The Artist's Abandonment of Self

Children dance without any thought to how silly they may look. They play with utter abandonment. I have been thinking about this lately as I consider how desperate to succeed I once felt. In facing lay offs, lack of employment, foreclosure, and failure, I turned to an old dream, hoping it would solve all my problems.

It didn't.

I have put hours into my writing, into studying how to write, in sharing my stories with others, in promoting and marketing myself, and I have earned nothing, not even a dollar in exchange for the time put into it. But over the last years, something has changed in me. My goals and desires have changed. I don't write because I want the money--oh, money would be nice--but now I write because I must. I have abandoned myself to the art of expression. I no longer seek book buyers; instead, I yearn for readers just as a child wants playmates.

It's a freeing change. I still wish I didn't have to work two jobs--software testing by day, writing by night--for it has taken its toll on me. But the anxious desperation is falling away, and in its place is passion and peace.

4 comments:

  1. To be true, we can only write for ourselves. Then push it out of the nest and hope that someone else likes our kids as much as we do.

    I agree, it is hard. Keeping it up alongside a paying job. And you've forgotten another job, a very important one in there: parent. That's a full-time one as well, and exhausting, and never finished.

    So here's to dancing. With our kids.

    All the best.

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  2. Jonathan, you've said it better than I could with much fewer words. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. I'm still in that desperate place. I try to give the book a rest, but it will not let me go. Sigh.

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  4. For me, it is a constant battle to avoid that place of desperation. The trick, I think, is to focus on having fun.

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