On most days, I can’t write what I want to write. If I truly, uncompromisingly chased after what I believe to be the best, most creative ideas in my brain, I’d constantly write stuff like this. Or this. Or this. Most of my posts would be long, winding stories, with lots of detours, seemingly random connections, and by the end of them, you wouldn’t be entirely sure what you just read.
Some say these are my best stories. Others say they are my worst. Regardless, they are the stories that take a lot of time to write yet usually produce little economic return and, unfortunately, I’m an adult. I have responsibilities. Obligations. Things to do and places to be.
Oh, don’t worry about me. I’m not complaining. I’m lucky enough to get to write some of these stories, some of the time. I can afford to write this blog as a little pocket of freedom. I even get to publish books from time to time. Perhaps most importantly, I can still write as part of my “day job,” running Four Minute Books, even though it’s a very different kind of writing.
At Four Minute Books, I write emails to freelancers, partners, and potential collaborators. I write the weekly newsletter. I write book lists, content plans, and sales copy. In short, I do a lot of writing that one may not exactly consider “a higher calling” but that, despite its mundane nature, still contributes to an overall cause worth championing.
All of the written content on Four Minute Books is free. Over 10 million people have visited the website over the years. That’s 10 million times someone chose books over something else. I think that’s something to celebrate. We are better when we read, and so anything that makes reading easier and more accessible is a good thing in my book — pun intended.
So, how do I cope? Why don’t I throw up my hands in despair at my lack of creative freedom? Simple: I find the divine in the mundane.
When I copy and paste together information, do benign research, or decline the millionth guest post query, I — most of the time — don’t think about what I’m missing out on. I think about the good thing I’m about to achieve. I think about the people it’s for, and what it might help them do, no matter how small the assistance may be. Is it a minute saved? A Google search spared? A prompt to read a book they might otherwise never have found but that will ultimately change someone’s life? I choose to believe it is all of these and then some, and that’s what keeps me going.
There are days when everything is peachy, and days when work is thicker than a peach tree. You have the power to handle both equally well. To stay the course and maintain your pace. Find the divine in the mundane, and you’ll never go hungry, even when your creativity is fasting.