Love your work and stay gold, Ponyboy.

Love your work. It’s the key to happiness as a writer. I don’t much talk about writing otherwise, just because talking craft and dissecting meaning isn’t something I enjoy when it’s done outside of a classroom. (I’m a snob, get over it.) But one thing I know about writing is that you have to love it because not everyone else will.

I suppose it’s that way for a lot of disciplines. You have to love your work because why are you even working if you don’t love it? I mean, we all have those day jobs that pay the bills that you may or may not love, so why not love the stuff you do outside of the 9-5? (Anecdotal research suggests that everyone pretty much straight up hates their job and resents the company they work for.)

Obviously, this isn’t a post for people who don’t have passion projects and side hustles and miscellaneous gigs. If you love your day job, and come home and relax, that’s fantastic. (WHAT IS THAT EVEN LIKE?) I just know a ton of people with degrees in one form of art or another who come home and put twice as much work into their own stuff than they would ever give to the company that sucks out their souls for 40 hours every week. And while I do love my day job, I generally don’t come home and relax. Call it manic. Call it anxious. Whatever it is, I have to get home and work.

And that’s because I love the work I do.

When I get home from the ol’ day job, I either start working on this blog, or on some sort of fiction piece. I may take a few minutes to harness my chi, but I generally spend a good hour or so just bashing out some words on my laptop before dinner. And there are nights where I keep typing away long after dinner is over.

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I don’t do this for glory. There is none. Sure, I may write the next great American novel, and high school kids may study my work for years and years to come. But that’s not likely to happen. And I don’t want to nurture that “Hey, it could happen” idea in the back of my skull because at the end of the day, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about me feeling the need to write. That’s why I do it. The end.

This blog is so little. Like, I’m not even on the radar for a lot of people and I never will be. And that’s totally cool. I don’t blog for others. I blog because it’s fun for me, and if I’m being real, I don’t need another thing on the to do list. So, if blogging ever felt like another thing on the to do list, I’d probably drop it. (I mean, I kind of did for a while.)

You have to love your work because at the end of the day, it’s for you. I don’t so much care about the end result, but sitting down and writing and editing a piece until it forms into something is what I love. I don’t care about publication or blog stats. I’m here to have fun. This is why you have to love your work — because it’s the only guarantee you get. You don’t know what’s going to happen to the thing you just created. It could evaporate/explode/disintegrate/vanish once you complete it. And that would suck. But at least you enjoyed the process.

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Chris and I were having this discussion the other day. He said you have to love your work. You have to love the process because the process is where you spend the majority of your time. You can’t spend the minimum amount of time on something, and expect to spend the maximum amount of time reveling in your own glory. It’s just you and your work. And if you don’t love it, you’re going to spend a lot of time doing something you hate.

Chris started making these pins, and I can’t help but think he did it because it’s a reminder for him to love his work. Sure, it’s a reference to The Outsiders — check out that pompadour, and pretty much a reference to Robert Frost in the process. But if the way Ponyboy dug sunsets was golden, then so is the way you love your work. And let’s not forget this line in Johnny’s letter to Ponyboy:

You still have a lot of time to make yourself be what you want.

And that’s pretty much what the work is all about.

*****

P.S. Do you like this pin? Tune in next week. I’m not saying there’s going to be a giveaway, but there’s totally going to be a giveaway.

2 Responses

  1. Love it. Love the process–that’s the key. Because it’s still work, but if you’re hacking away at something you love, you don’t mind.

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