Friday, November 4, 2011

All You Need Is Love?

...and remember, all you need is love.

The final words on the card my wife and I sent my brother-in-law and his wonderful future bride.

Because of the family connection with the Beattles and my brother-in-laws love of music and the very real sentiment behind the words, all you need is love seems like the perfect sentiment to conclude a happy engagement card with. It made me think, however, of a more general usage of those words as it relates to writing.

Do what you love, love what you do. There are variations of that, and one such variation is of course, all you need is love.

Life isn’t as simple. Love is essential and without it, there is no proceeding with any endeavor for long. Yet, with other circumstances in my life recently, I understand that even love takes people just so far. There’s more to life that love can’t address by itself, like hard work, integrity and devotion.

Writing, too, requires more than love to make it work. Love is a foundation but not the entire construction, not the only consideration in the equation.

My wife e-mailed me a link to a blog that discussed the business side of writing and though I haven’t digested it all (the cold medicine I took has knocked me for a loop, more so than it usually does), the information seems sound and it seems like good advice to succeed. And yet. There it is, the idea that I have had in the past day or so, the past week, really: there’s more to success than just love.

You need a combination, a balance, in life that includes hard work to keep what you love strong, viable.

I love writing, but I understand that if that were all I needed, then I would be writing all the time and wouldn’t have a day job. Yet even that is too simple because I enjoy many of the aspects of my day job. I’m building office space at work- putting in the trim today. I like the saws, the smell of the wood, the satisfaction of seeing a job completed with my own hands. And before I transferred to the maintenance department, I enjoyed working with the kids on campus, being a counselor, making a difference.

I was a good child care worker for eight years and I’m a good maintenance man, and have been for the last six years. I also love to write. There are aspects of all three jobs that I have to work at, that are unpleasant, that have very little to do with love. Except, the other stuff, the unpleasant stuff, that is what makes doing what you love, possible.

So writer, general reader and fellow human being- start with love, then make damn sure that you work to keep that love in your life, because you don’t want to let it slip away. Even if you have to do the unpleasant things, even if you have to work harder than you want, the love you have is worth the sacrifice and eventually, it all pays off; in writing, in life.


Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Hmmm. I've come to believe you need more than love. Love is part of what you need. Make any sense? We all need lots of things - food on the table, clothes on our back, a safe place to sleep.
Sometimes I think love is a luxury that we can afford once the needs required to survive are met.
And most writers can't give up the day job.
Even though I love my children more than anything in the world, my love is not all they need.

MT Nickerson said...

No. If love were everything, life might be easier...