A Small Lesson about Creative Work from Jennifer Lawrence

I remembered something really important about my creative work today.

It started with Vogue’s September cover story. Which was about Jennifer Lawrence. In case you don’t stalk her as avidly as I do.

I am always struck by her humanity, and this interview was no exception. In it she shares about struggling to fit in, childhood anxieties, and the difficulties of coping with her extreme celebrity.

“This is what I love”
But what struck me most was that, even with all she has going on right now, she can’t find it in herself to turn down a role. A few of the others interviewed about Jennifer for the story expressed concern that she will burn herself out working so hard–even the writer himself. But all she had to say about it was this, referencing one of the later movies she’s agreed to take on, American Hustle:

“I couldn’t say no … And then when I was on set, I was like, ‘This is so much more important than a vacation. It’s so much better for my brain to be creatively stimulated in this way.’ It reminded me: This is what I love.”

And that’s when I remembered the attitude I should always, always bring with me to my creative work: JOY. 

Just another to-do
Everything I do is on a list somewhere. It’s how I get everything done. But it can also make it easy for me to focus on merely checking things off, rather than being present in the process. This is more true for my writing right now than ever–I’ve just reworked my novel’s entire plot structure, and I’m determined to have a draft ready for beta readers by 2014. To do this, I’m more than doubling my daily word count.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it still. In fact, this will be a lot easier to stick to if I do enjoy it.

Tell me … How do you stay joyful about your creative work?

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