If I were a character in a book, I’d say that one of my biggest character flaws is that I always look toward the future to the point of being unhappy with the present.
I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. In middle school, I wanted to move away from all the ugh of that period of my life. I moved as I was going into high school, but then I couldn’t wait for college and being out on my own. When I was single, I wanted a boy. When I had a boy, I wanted to be single. You get the picture.
My whole life has been like this. Granted, my excitement for the future is what motivates me to make plans, but all too often I don’t enjoy where I am right now.
The quote from the top is from a talk that Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a leader from my church, gave last October. (The actual quote says “fabulous roses,” but that’s beside the point.) In this talk, he uses the little blue flower as a metaphor–the five petals reminding us of five things we should never forget. The third one is: “Forget Not to Be Happy Now.”
He talks about Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When Willy Wonka sends out his Golden Tickets, everyone in the world wants one. And a candy bar without a golden ticket is a complete disappointment.
Sometimes when we’re writing, publishing becomes our Golden Ticket or our fabulous rose. It seems like this ultimate goal that will make us happy (even if we’ve read plenty of blog posts telling us this isn’t true).
One of the greatest pieces of advice I got last year at WIFYR was to enjoy being unpublished. This is the time we have to develop our craft. We don’t have the pressure of deadlines and submissions and publicity and reviews. This is an awesome part of our writing career, even if it doesn’t feel as shiny or glamorous.
So here’s to being unpublished! What one thing do you love about being in this stage?
The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy.
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Forget Me Not”