February 12, 2017

My Joy In Writing - Guest Post by Brenda Leyland


 Carli Jean / unsplash.com

"The work for which we are fitted—which we are sent into this world to do—what a blessing it is and what fullness of joy it holds!" L.M. Montgomery, Selected Journal, Volume II, May 23, 1910

With pleasure, I accepted Sandi Somers' invitation to explore the joys that come from writing. What a delightful exercise it has been to discover exactly what it is that makes me happy when I write.

To do one's work well, a person needs to be fitted for the task. It turns out I am physically and mentally suited for writing. There is an overall sense of living in one's own shoes when I write -- the whole situation of writing fits comfortably and naturally -- which certainly increases my enjoyment of the process. Since a child, I prefer sitting, reading, or bending my head over a project at my desk to more physical activities. My nature tends not to be the restless sort, so I can sit quietly for hours on end and be content. Although I prefer a more sedentary lifestyle, it's not about being lazy. I actually start to feel frayed and edgy in my soul if I must be ever on the run with this activity or the next. Sitting around thinking and daydreaming is a good quirk to have if one wants to write, and I certainly have it.

My psyche is wired for writing. They say writing is a lonely business and that a writer must withdraw from society if she is to get any writing done. Truth of the matter, solitude suits me; it is my joy to while away hours with my own thoughts and ideas, listening for His input, delighting when our thoughts meld. I freely admit I anticipate the time my dear husband heads to the gym each morning; when the door closes behind him, I relish these completely alone times. Lest you think I'm a hermit, I am not; I do enjoy the company of others, including said husband, yet I'm perfectly happy being sequestered with my words and paper.

My relationship with my desk is an affair of the heart. One of my favourite spots in the house is my little office with its lovely antique table as a writing desk and the tiny 1960's kitchen table as my computer desk. There is something about walking into that space which fires up my creative spirit. As a girl, I loved having my own desk in school with its wooden drawer under the seat; I looked forward to coming home and seeing the little table waiting for me in my sunny upstairs bedroom; and I never tired of my corner office at work with its modern desk unit. Even when the job itself grew wearing, I'd still feel a leap of joy when I'd see my desk -- that place where I worked and wrote for my esteemed boss. To this day, my heart still does that same happy dance; it's at my desk where I feel the most grounded ... and in my right place.

The love of playing with words. American author Truman Capote once said that, for him, the greatest pleasure of writing was to hear 'the inner music the words made'. Oh yes, I can relate. Like a child who delights in playing with her toys, so too is the felicity of playing with words, honing and shaping sentences to capture with elegance what you desire your readers to see in their own mind's eye. When I work at stringing words together to share thoughts filled with life and hints of eternity, figuring out a beautifully turned phrase to surprise the mind like shooting stars ... and melt the heart like chocolate ... there is nothing more satisfying to the heart and soul of this writer.

Time stands still when I write. The other evening I sat down around 7:30 pm to work on a new blog post. Happily engaged in the process of writing a draft, finding suitable quotes, editing and loading photos, time went by. Glancing at the clock, thinking it would be around ten o’clock, surprised was I to learn it was nearly two o’clock in the morning! Completely absorbed, I had no awareness of time passing. It must be true -- time flies when you’re having fun.

"You should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on the mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten -- happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another." ~ Brenda Ueland, Author of If You Want to Write

There's a euphoria in pushing through the hard places. Every writer experiences those times in his or her work when it's just not working. You come to the spot where you want to throw your hands in the air and wail, 'Whose idea was this anyway?' But you come back to your senses, sit back down, and begin to chip-chip-chip away at the rock-hard resistance ... until you have a breakthrough. It's that sweet moment you wait for -- the frisson of excitement when the joy returns with its inexplicable thrilling up and down of the spine. One never forgets such a moment, and you remind yourself of it the next time you're tempted to quit.

The fullness of joy in The Assignment. Some years ago now, I used to pester the Lord about what he wanted me to write. I was certainly willing to write what he had in mind for me. Yet, so often I would hear his reply: “What’s in your heart?” I eventually realized there are times he invites me to go ahead and write what's bubbling in my own heart. And, when he has a special assignment for me to write, he will tell me. His assignments are ofttimes the most fulfilling, not to mention wondrous, because I love that I am, like Mother Teresa, a little pencil in His hand, working with Him to share a word that will encourage, comfort, or inspire. Whether it goes out as a letter, post, or article -- sometimes even as an entry for a writing contest -- when the words are finally ready to write, out they spill like liquid gold, filled with God's life to bring light, hope, and grace to someone's life. It's writing at its sweetest and best.

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The Lord gave me a promise many years ago as I sought to find his way for my life and the work I would undertake. Psalm 128:2 says, "For you shall eat the fruit of the labour of your hands; happy shall you be, and it shall be well with you." It is only now in this season of my life that I am, more than ever, seeing the real fulfilment of those words. This writing work for which I am fitted by His grace -- and sent into this world to do -- what a blessing it is and what fullness of joy it holds. 




Brenda C Leyland, now retired completely from the workforce, spends more time writing at her desk. Ever on the lookout for 'glimpses of heaven in unexpected places', she blogs about her life at It's A Beautiful Life, and works away on various small and even one monumental writing project which she hopes will eventually turn into something bookish.

16 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:00 am GMT-7

    Bren: This was an absolute treat to read. Simply beautiful and yes, the Lord has given you a talent, to not only share with our weary world - but to brighten the lives of everyone who reads your words. Many thanks, Sandra

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  2. I can relate to so much of this. Yes, writing suits some in a wonderful, fulfilling manner, and I'm glad that I'm one of those!

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  3. Favourite! Thank you, Brenda. This is one of my favourite posts ever, because I could relate to every single thing - from the L.M. Montgomery quote to your last line. "Here is a kindred spirit," I thought. Will you be my friend? :)

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  4. Lovely:) That recognition of being suited to one's work/calling is a true blessing! May your own illumination be a candle that lights another and another and another!

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  5. I loved reading all of this, as I love reading all your other words too, Brenda. They resonate with me. You are a treasure; it's no wonder your words shine.
    Pam

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  6. "Completely absorbed, I had no awareness of time passing. It must be true -- time flies when you’re having fun." Won't eternity be fun, when time is no morexception? Crawling into bed at 2am after writing is such a pleasure - until morning comes...

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  7. A resounding YES! to this post Brenda! I can so relate to everything you said here.

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  8. I so enjoyed reading this. I feel like we have been friends for a long time.

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  9. Thank you, Brenda, for this inspiring post. I so relate to much of what you've written, and you've said it so well. " I especially liked your statement, "There's a euphoria in pushing through the hard places."

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  10. When the shoe fits... I can so relate to everything that you've described about the process of writing that brings you joy, Brenda. Devouring your words was a special treat like rich deep chocolate.

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  11. Absolutely what you said, Bren--all of it. Your categories, quotes, similes, and beautifully written strings of words. I heard the music of your words, especially in this sentence. "When I work at stringing words together to share thoughts filled with life and hints of eternity, figuring out a beautifully turned phrase to surprise the mind like shooting stars ... and melt the heart like chocolate ... there is nothing more satisfying to the heart and soul of this writer."

    Thank you!

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  12. I'm so grateful to each of you for your beautiful and kind comments.

    Another thing that gives great joy to writers is receiving feedback from readers whose hearts are touched in some way by their writings. Thank you for speaking back into my life and touching me with your words. You are a blessing.

    Brenda

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  13. Time stands still....... :)

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  14. Thank you Brenda for this feast for my soul. Your words both here, and on It's a Beautiful Life are inspiring me tremendously. In sharing your joy of writing, I feel that you captured the very essence of my personality and taught me some things I didn't realize about myself. It actually made me cry to hear this meaningful message, but in a very positive way.
    Bless you and thank you, Brenda
    Lynne

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