Hard Work

I used to believe in hard work. Hard work was the means by which I would beat a path through life’s thickets and thorns toward success, that clear place where I could rest and know peace. If it was easy to get this place everyone would be there, and I could see in the faces in the crowd, and I could hear in all the stories I was told that most were trying, or wishing, or turning back. If the difference between finding this place or not was hard work, then a little sweat and struggle seemed like a small price to pay. I’d heard that nothing in life is free; apparently this was so. Writing could be hard work. I didn’t always feel like doing it, but oh how I hated myself when I didn’t. So I’d write no matter my mood. If I wasn’t interested in my story, or nothing was coming, I’d write anyway. If I thought I had no talent, I’d write anyway. If I thought no one would like what I liked, I’d write anyway. It was hard, and I didn’t look forward to it, but such is the price of success.

Sometimes, of course, it went differently. Sometimes I wasn’t in the mood, but after a paragraph or two I found that I was in the mood. And after another paragraph I was interested in my story, and then I didn’t care about talent or what anyone thought, then I only cared about the story and what was going to happen next and then next and then next.

And then I’d be done, and I wasn’t tired, and as I sat back from my computer I couldn’t for one moment call what had just happened hard. In fact, I couldn’t even call it work. What was most disorienting of all was the calm I felt alone in my chair not writing. Something within me had come to rest – had actually been at rest even while I wrote. What was I now to believe in? The peace I felt in that small and inglorious moment, or the peace I believed I would know if I only worked a little harder?


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion.

"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com

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