It’s All About the Work

Once we got past the morning parade in the local city of Keene, my project for July 4th morning was to complete the demolition of my grandson’s treehouse in our backyard. I built it for Gavin when he was a little shaver, barely able to climb the ladder to get up into the treehouse, and it was one of his favorite places to be when he came to visit. In reality, it’s not really that spectacular, with me giving into mom and grandma’s desire’s for caution and making it only six feet off the ground. But it had rails, had a bottom area that was enclosed with doors and windows, and most importantly, a zipline that allowed Gavin to travel rapidly across our backyard to the consternation of our dogs.

Gavin a few years ago, diligently digging a hole at the base of the treehouse with his assistant and my faithful dog Cooper.

Now Gavin is ten, going on 21. He informed us on his last trip that he is too old for his treehouse now. I suspect that part of that was due to the demise of the zipline, which happened when the other tree it was anchored to began to split in half. Saving the tree called for me to discontinue to zipline. No more zip.

So I discussed it with Shelly, and we decided that it was time for the treehouse to go. It was built with loving care, but I’m no contractor, and it was starting to show some wear and tear. It’s taken a couple of days to bring it down, and we have a lot of leftover lumber and bolts and screws, but it’s finally down. And I haven’t told Gavin yet.

But in the process, I started thinking about this project in the light of other projects I have done. I built the treehouse for my grandson, that’s true, but part of it was a revisit of my own childhood. And there’s joy in creative work. I would have been dismayed if he had turned his nose up at the treehouse, and I suspected that he wouldn’t–he’s a boy, after all–but it wasn’t all for him.

That’s the way it is with my writing projects. I left traditional publishing in 2012 to pursue indie publishing because I had some ideas for books that I suspected the traditionals wouldn’t find a place for. And I wanted to see them published. Some of them were big successes, got great reviews and even won awards. Others, that I also thought were good books, died on the vine. That’s the way it goes with publishing. But you have to remember that part of why you’re writing is for yourself.

If you’re writing strictly as a job, strictly to make money, that’s all well and good. More power to you. You won’t waste your time working on projects that are iffy, that you might like but risk having no audience. But if you’re writing partly for yourself, that’s a different story. You might not sell any books, but you can still take pride in your work.

Kind of like I enjoyed building that treehouse.