"Do anything, but let it produce joy."
- Walt Whitman
I am a workhorse. When I take on a project, I throw all my energy and focus on it until it's done. That's what I did when I became a freelance writer. As I worked to build a business, I realized I was equally enjoying myself and driving myself crazy. I had to remind myself to have fun.
Where's the fun?
I know that sounds crazy, but I recognized how I worked towards my goals with a heavy energy. A friend said to me, "You're fun to be around, but you're fun-deprived."
Right away, I knew he was right. I was like a parent who tells their child they have to finish their chores, and then they can go out and play. Except, I was doing it to myself.
I treated the work I loved, that exhilarated me, like a chore. As I have done my whole life, I put pressure on myself to accomplish, achieve. I used to approach writing the same way.
Here it is
I took the joy out of it because I wrapped myself up in perfection and outcomes. I forgot the whole process of getting an idea, and bringing it to life is where the excitement is.
When I remember that, projects I'm working on go smoother and give me the results I obsess over. Recently, I submitted a piece to an editor with no brooding over how she would respond. I polished it up as best I could and sent it. She liked it and wants to publish it.
That acceptance was a glaring example of how enjoying and not stressing lead to the results you want. I know that won't happen every time, but I won't weigh myself down over the outcome anymore.
Life and living
I don't mean work-life balance, either.
Work-life balance isn't where it's at. Richard Branson said he "never really understood why so many people separate work from play - it's all living." For me, it's living my life in a way that's most satisfying to me.
That's what I'm here to do. Live and live joyfully. The work I do shouldn't take away from that - especially not work I love.
I will always have my goals, but I'll always find a way to have fun along the way.
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer