The Joy of Missing Out
You’re here because you want to write. Writing brings you joy.
Every day, you have the opportunity to do what you want, and to experience that joy.
It doesn’t feel that simple, does it?
If you don’t already know her, Christina Crook is the Toronto-based author of The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World.
She’s an extraordinary digital minimalist, and the inspiring leader of a movement that I predict will become extremely significant to all of us soon.
She wrote this excellent piece for us today. I think you’ll get a lot out of it. I know I did.
The Joy of Missing Out
By Christina Crook
The other day, a 25-year-old woman interviewed me on her podcast: What I Wish I Knew When I was 25. She is smart. I intentionally arrived at the call unprepared, hoping to let the memories slip out instead of spewing preemptive answers the way I think I should. (Got to stay on message. Got to hit the talking points.)
I heard myself say to her, “All of the best things that have happened in my career and in my life had nothing to do with me controlling them.”
In this community, here at the Sarah Selecky Writing School, we are taught to trust what seems random. We’re encouraged to keep space for writing — for wanting.
For to write is to want.
The world will be better with your words. To get them down on the page will require your desire.
It will require discipline, space, trust. It will require you to miss out on some things.
Impulse pen-shopping on Amazon.
The fear of missing out is a sneaky, sinister vapor. It seeps in from somewhere outside of you. It deceives, saying: You are not doing enough. You don’t have enough. You are not enough.
The danger of forces like FOMO is not only in the pressure to try to do, be, and experience everything; it’s the lie that we’re told that it’s possible to. All of the best things that have happened in my career and my life had nothing to do with me controlling them.
Every moment of our lives is spent doing one thing to the exclusion of a literal infinity of other things, no matter what we choose. Advertisers, media conglomerates, even well-meaning colleagues and family members urge us not to miss out, play the safe card, put ourselves out there on every available platform.
If you want to hit your goal, don’t scatter your shots.
You’re here because you want to write. Unpack that want. What is it you want to say? Why do you want to be a writer? What’s in you begging — wanting — to come out?
Don’t let FOMO mess that up.
What are you willing to miss out on so you get to write?
I wrote my first book when my children were ages 4, 2, and six months old. I wrote three days a week in a jeweler’s office at a desk I rented for $25/week. I drove home at lunch hours to nurse and kiss babies. I voice-dictated chapters in the blackness of our bedroom. I wanted to write that book. I was paying for childcare and office space and espresso to make that dream live.
What do you want? What are you willing to miss out on to get there?
Expectations — real or imagined?
I left for four days last fall to write in the country at a dirty table in a cold room, and I wept for every hour I sat there and gave myself over to the work. This is the work I am meant to do. Those days at that dirty table looked nothing like the front covers and blog posts and productivity hacks and inspirational Instagram posts I nibble on and spit out day after day, after hour.
The words sprouted and took root. There was nothing productive or Instagrammable or repeatable about it.
I simply made room.
It was joy. I know it was joy, because time stopped when I was writing. Joy happens in moments when time stops.
Time stops when I am at that dirty table, trusting what seems random, but what is also true. Time stops when I am in the living room, reading poetry aloud to my six-year-old son. Time stops when all about me swirls the world, and I sit down.
Where does time stop for you?
Notice it — that’s when you’re experiencing the joy of missing out.
Christina is the author of The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World and creator of the JOMOcast podcast. She leads the JOMO Patreon community, where she shares joyful tools and insights designed to empower you to experience JOMO in your daily life.
Photo credit (top): Prateek Katyal on Unsplash
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