“Work like you don’t need money, love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like no one is watching.”
I would love to attribute this quote, but since I found about five different authors credited, I’ll just say that it is one of my favorite inspirational sayings. I’ve mentioned before that I’m easily embarrassed, so this quote speaks particularly to me. Sometimes we all need to just forget about what everyone else thinks or how they judge us and experience our too-short lives for all they’re worth — even the pains and disappointments that inevitably accompany the joys and triumphs.
I think this advice is especially apropos for creative types — writers, artists, performers — because the more we worry about pleasing everyone, making a lot of money, or trying to gain fame or awards, the more our work seems to suffer. Some of our greatest artistic works have come from people who were met time and again with rejection, or were pressured to change or conform.
I think of J.K. Rowling, who struggled financially and sometimes wrote on paper napkins, who was reportedly rejected by a dozen major publishers before she finally found one who would take a chance on her quirky and unique series about a young wizard in training for an epic battle. I think it would have been a great loss if she’d given up or let those naysayers derail her ideas or change the story she wanted — needed — to tell. I credit her for bringing an entire generation back to a love of reading; seeing a group of nine-year-old girls and boys immersed in a book with more than 700 pages was a thrilling sight for this life-long book lover. I stumbled upon her with the publication of her second book in the U.S. I was looking for books for my then-eleven-year-old son to read and saw a comment about her work on a writers’ internet forum. I ordered the first two for him in hardcover, and he loved them, telling his friends about them before any of them had even heard of Harry Potter. Though my now twenty-year-old son is more interested in video games than books, to my admitted disappointment, he is still a 4.0 student in college, and I credit a great deal of that to the good reading skills he developed growing up surrounded by books, including the Harry Potter stories. Now that he has an iPod Touch that allows him to download books through Kindle, he is reading more again, when he is in waiting rooms or on breaks from work or classes (and no video game is available). Whatever the media, I’m delighted whenever he tells me about something interesting he just read.
In one of my earliest posts on this blog (Why not romance?), I mentioned how often romance novels are scornfully dismissed or snickered at. They aren’t recognized as “real books” by the “literary” types. It’s too easy for romance writers to become defensive; I really hate it when readers who love romances feel the need to hide their books for fear of being judged or ridiculed. If I were to think about what a critic might say about my books, I would be unable to write at all. I try very hard to please my readers, and to tell a story that feels honest and entertaining to me — but I don’t worry about reviews or acclaim. I love romance, and even if I occasionally branch into a different genre just because another type of story intrigues me at the time, I suspect there will always be a developing relationship included in the plot.
On our recent trip to Branson, we watched the fire-and-fountain display that plays every hour at Branson Landing, a relatively new retail/restaurant/hotel complex on the banks of Lake Taneycomo. Syncronized to music (mostly classic rock, though I’ve also heard jazz numbers and Christmas tunes there), the fountains shoot high into the sky accompanied by noisy bursts of flame, from which you can feel the heat throughout the ampitheater where the crowds gather to watch. This little boy was totally into the music — Creedence Clearwater’s Up and Around the Bend. Oblivious of the audience, he danced in the spray from the fountains, throwing out his arms and enjoying every moment. When do we lose that unselfconscious ability to savor every experience in our lives? How much joy do we sacrifice because we worry that someone else won’t approve or will make fun of us?
So, my wish for you today is to dance like no one is watching … and savor every moment.
Don’t forget to enter!
This month is half over, and at the end I’ll be drawing for the two connected paperbacks, THE GROOM’S STAND-IN and THE BEST MAN’S PLAN. Click the Enter to Win! tab above for details of how to enter the contest.
Available in stores now — DIAGNOSIS: DADDY, the first book in my Doctors in Training series.