I am currently reading Yolen's Sword of the Rightful King as part of some research I am doing (can anyone say secret work-in-progress?) and I came across this short and inspirational book for writers. I was immediately drawn to the title, Take Joy. Taking joy is always my goal when writing, but once writing becomes the act of trying to get published it quickly becomes (at least for me) "Take Envy, Take Frustration, and Take a Running Jump Off a Very Long Pier."
Yolen begins her book by saying that for some writers "agony oils the writing machine." That's not her way. But she does contend that "it's not writing that makes writers miserable. It is the emphasis on publication."
She goes on:
Know this about being published: it is out of your hands. Even if you do everything you can think of to affect the outcome, you cannot make an editor take your work. You can go to conferences. You can take creative writing classes... you can read books about writing such as this one (she goes on in rather a hilarious vein about all the things a writer can do, ending with Therefore, once the manuscript is in the mail--relax. Read a good book. Or a bad book. Just don't worry about it. Better yet--get busy writing something new.)She finishes her first chapter by saying that writing is like
flying just treetop level until the story or poem rises up to meet me. There is a joy when the air rushes past my wings; there is a sense of completeness when the journey is over.I'm looking forward to having Jane Yolen as my companion for this first month of 2011. I hope this will be a year of "taking joy" for all of us.
(To learn more about Jane Yolen, you can visit her website. She also keeps a regular and interesting online journal.)