“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”
By nature, I am a worrywart. I check to make sure the oven’s off before going to bed each night. I’ve never flown on an airplane – so many things about it terrify me – and probably never will. I look in my rearview mirror quite frequently while driving and still remember the way, thirteen years ago, my driving teacher actually covered it with her hand so I’d stop. I get concerned when people are late to arrive somewhere. And WebMD? It’s my worst enemy.
Know what doesn’t make me anxious, though? Writing. Editing. Losing myself in the words, in the magic. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, as I query SOT. So many things about the querying process are frustrating, or disappointing, or just plain tough. I have a separate email account for everything writing-related, and I won’t lie, my heart likely skips a beat whenever the number in that inbox updates. Querying is not for the faint of spirit, that’s for sure. I’ve been doing it for a long time now, and I like to think I’ve learned something – lots of things, even. But still, it takes a lot. And maybe it should, because the best things in life, they’re worth fighting for. They’re worth the nerves and the wondering and the worrying.
Sometimes, though, we have to forget about the next step in the journey. About the things out of our control, whether that’s our dreams or our careers or whatever else is waiting out there in the wide, uncertain world. And when I need to do that? I turn to reading, or music, or the outdoors, or, most often, writing. I jump into my characters’ stories and am reminded all over again why I do this. Why I love this. Why I need this. Do I want to be published? Of course. But more than that, I want the joy, the excitement, the invigoration of sitting down at my desk and knowing I’m about to go on a journey with these people who travel from my imagination to the page. Writing lets me explore. It lets me play. It lets me believe in fairy tales and goodness and light. There is truly nothing like it. When I’m writing, it’s like my heart grows wings. It chases away the worries. It lets me be my freest and truest self. When my family went through the excruciating month-long horror of losing Gram? I escaped into my writing. When I was searching for a way to work through the pain of losing all my grandparents? A way to heal? My characters taught me how. And just a few months ago, when I spent a terribly long week waiting for an MRI and worrying about what could be wrong? WATERCOLORS helped me through.
Writing can be difficult. It should be difficult sometimes, because that’s when we find opportunities to push ourselves. But it can also be beautiful. It can also be magical. It can also be a safe place to let go of everything else and just be. In spite of everything else, maybe even because of everything else, I am so grateful for that. When it comes to writing, I have no worries.
And isn’t that the way it should be?