There is strong contingent of researchers, dietitians, therapists and other medical professionals who believe that dieting is harmful to health. Instead they emphasize how important it is to listen to your body–to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satiated. They talk about honoring your hunger and rejecting the idea that you had a good or bad day based on what you did or didn’t eat. This movement is called intuitive eating.
I am now going to say what I have been feeling lately about writing. I think it should be joyful. I think it should be something that pushes me and makes me try new things and brings me fulfillment. I do not think it should be painful (at least too painful) and I do not think it should be competitive or results-based (if the only results that matter are publication or making a million dollars or making it on subjective lists). I also believe it should not be soul sucking.
Am I wrong?
Can writing be intuitive? Can it be something that feeds our souls? Brings us the kind of happiness that comes from creating something beautiful and personal and honest?
I know that there is a reality to the business of art–the reality of making money, the reality of needing to market, the reality of putting food on the table. I also know that there is value in doing things we don’t want to do, pushing through, butt-in-chair. There are also things like revision if you love drafting or drafting if you love revision.
Intuitive eating doesn’t say eat anything you want. They don’t say binge on Twinkies all day. They say, re-evaluate. Eat and enjoy. Exercise for fun. See what it feels like to move your body–doing the things you love. If you don’t like running, swim or dance or hike. Don’t base your value in whether you ate a doughnut or not. But also be curious and evaluate how your body feels when you do eat things that don’t give you adequate energy or that weigh you down. Practice making choices that will bring you happiness
Does writing bring you happiness? Do you love it? Do you write things that matter to you? Do you find joy in the struggle? Do you place your value in how a piece or manuscript does? Do you support other writers? Do you push through when things get hard and keep trying but at the same time, let yourself have breaks and not feel guilty if you didn’t write for a day or two or 34? Do you laugh while you write and cry and try new things and send things out and then breathe through rejections and then talk to someone you love about it and then laugh and do it again? Do you celebrate when things go well? Do you lay on the grass and stare at the sky? Do you yell your biggest dreams to the wind on the top of mountains? Do you love yourself no matter what? Published or not? Finished a book or not? New York Times Bestseller or not? Never write again or not?
I say write for joy.
Also, you can tell me I’m wrong.