There are times in our lives where things suddenly become difficult to bear. These times can make us question our passions, our faith, and even who we are. We even lose sight of the things that make life joyful and beautiful.
Consider how many times these questions entered your mind:
- If I were someone else (more outgoing, better off, etc.), would things be different for me in my life?
- If I was interested in something that would guarantee success from the get-go without many struggles, would I be happier and less worried about my future?
- These things (i.e. reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle, playing an instrument) make me happy. Why do I neglect them if they bring me joy?
In June 2016, I wrote about being an English major for a website called Dear English Major, founded by Alyssa Christensen. In my interview, I talked about how despite my doubts, fears, and any possible setbacks, that I didn’t regret being an English major. Writing, literature, and making connections with fellow majors and writers made me hopeful about my future and dreams. Many of you that have read this blog, my posts on LinkedIn, and other writing endeavors (especially this year), know that I am a writer, avid book lover, and also enjoy other hobbies that bring me joy, like music. I shared that story to say that the events and classes I took part in helped me remember why I was an English major in the first place, and why I loved it.
I’m sorry to say that during difficult times, I still neglect the things that make me happy for various reasons. But when I stumble upon them again, whether by accident or when I’m looking for something to do, I remember.
Every single time.
As a writer, it can be tricky at times when we get writer’s block, lose our inspiration, face rejection after rejection, and even lose heart at one point because you worry about likes, trends, and other factors that define “success.” We stop reading books we love, the writing goes in a drawer to never be looked at again, and we compare ourselves every time we see an article or post online about someone achieving the success we crave. We also wish that we could write every day, that we were more confident in ourselves, and didn’t let other things bother or distract us.
I have found myself thinking a lot about who I am this week. How I had so many books on my shelf and tablet but didn’t take the time to read them, that I only saw the bad things in myself instead of the good that my friends and many others did, the mistakes that were made this year and last, and why I just can’t write! Turning to things that gave me joy made me feel I was just fantasizing about what may never be.
That thinking is wrong. The things we love and who we are deep down inside should inspire us to persevere during the hard times. Ground us in our truth and remember ourselves. Consider what we’ve done so far and how those things impacted other people. Taking time to think about improving our work and enhancing our voice.
So, my readers and fellow writers, please turn to the joys of your lives when you feel stuck or lost. Remember how amazing you are and the words from those who know you best. Look in your heart and think about how you can encourage other people just by being yourself. Reach out for inspiration and guidance.
You will find your way again, I assure you. You just need to put in the footwork.