While researching this blog, I read an interesting article about hope. Derrick Jensen wrote, “A wonderful thing happens when you give up on hope, which is that you realize you never needed it in the first place.”
After I got over my urge to grab my red pen and strike the “that” out of his sentence, I began to process the actual meaning of Jensen’s words. Give up on hope? Is he crazy? Hasn’t hope fueled most of our lives? We start out hoping we can reach the cookie on the table, graduate to hoping we ace our math test, and become adults where hope is our most vital four letter word. We hope traffic isn’t bad so we can make it to work on time; hope we remembered to turn off that curling iron, and hope we’ll meet the man/woman of our dreams.
As writers, we hope the agent/editor will call, hope readers like our books, and hope we will someday make some bestseller list. But is Jensen correct? Should we stop hoping? Imagine, for just a moment, we could actually send out a manuscript and not think about it again until we got the response. If we could channel the energy we put into “hoping,” into writing another book… or into something even more noble like volunteering, what could we achieve? What if we just assumed the book would garner a contract, would actually make money, and just believed the book would appeal to readers. Wouldn’t we be happier?
Giving up on hope doesn’t mean, giving up. Nor does it mean you shouldn't think positive, just the opposite actually. Relinquishing hope forces you to live in the here and now; to stop worrying about what may happen tomorrow. For writers, it means learning to love the process of writing again, finding the power and beauty in words and stories, and refusing to worry how the manuscript will get published or who will read the pages.
To use Jensen’s words, “When you turn away from hope, you turn away from fear.” Interesting concept, huh?
I know what you’re thinking. ”Exactly how do I do that?”
Still working on that one.