Welcome to the second post in this series in helping you access your unique abilities as a writer. Once again, this is probably not exactly what you might’ve expected from me. 😆 If you missed the last post, here’s a quick recap:
If you’ve been hanging around my blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me talking about the idea of finding joy. In your life, in your writing… and in your process.
However, while I’ve written a full post on finding joy in your life, I have only ever dedicated small sections of posts to talking about why you need to find joy in your writing itself. I thought it was high time to address exactly why you need it in your writing, how it actually helps your writing process, and how to utilize it.
Joy is Addictive
Joy is addictive. Probably one of the most addictive things in the world, actually. If there’s one thing that everyone in the world wants, it’s to be happy. No matter what language you speak, or where you live, or what you do, you probably want to be happy.
So why would you not do what makes you happy?
Writing takes up so much of your time and energy, that it really should be something that invites joy and happiness into your life.
Think about it: if joy is addictive and you inject that into your writing… your writing becomes addictive. When it’s addictive, you want to do it more. You do do it more. And you are happier while you’re doing it and from doing it.
Some advice I recently heard was to stop writing while on a high note – and that makes so much sense to me. I’ve heard the idea before of stopping in the middle of a sentence; that way, you can pick up again in the middle of something and won’t get writer’s block. But I’ve never liked leaving things incomplete, because personally, I forget what I was going to say next. 😅 This method made buckets more sense.
When you leave your writing on this sort of high, you can’t wait to get back into it. Not to mention, as they said in the podcast, your mind remembers that way you felt the last time you were writing and associates that with the idea of writing.
By focusing on joy in your writing, you literally can become addicted to your own writing.
How this Improves Your Writing
Have you ever been bored while you were writing?
If not, awesome! I have been, though, so I can tell you what it’s like: you don’t enjoy the writing while you’re doing it. Words come slowly. You feel discouraged. And all these feelings really can shine through your writing.
Compare this to when you are happy and excited while you’re writing. Words flow! You’re happy! And there’s just this feeling of joy threaded into your very words.
I seriously don’t know how those emotions get injected into writing, but I’ve read my own writing and seen the difference. You can literally feel how the writer felt while they were writing something.
So, not only is it an enjoyable and addictive experience to write when you focus on the joy in it, but it’s an enjoyable reading experience as well.
And, not to mention, when you focus on the stuff you want to write, you probably are going to end up writing stuff that people want to read. Your writing becomes relatable and interesting simply by you focusing on the joy in it. What you love, other people will love. Writing what you love is what will gather your people to you.
Also, you literally just write better when you like what you’re writing. When it brings you joy. This is not scientific or anything; just something I’ve noticed from writing over a million words. 😛
A Case Study
I think the big winning point for me when it comes to focusing on joy while I’m writing is just simply the fact that it really makes me fall in love with my writing. You’re proud of what you’ve done, you love it, and you don’t mind doing all the work you have to to make your book amazing.
To make my point, I welcome to the stage me and my NaNoWriMo 2020 novel.
If you’ve been around for a couple months, you probably remember how I did a whole series during November where I gave daily updates (and snippets) from my book. Then, after it was over, I actually did a post where I talked about the novel itself, which is something I haven’t done in a while on the blog.
If you go back and read those posts, you probably will notice excitement coming through a lot of what I said about the book, and the joy in the book itself.
So, how did I do this?
I guess it might seem a little vague to some people how I keep saying to “focus on joy” and stuff; what does that even mean?
To show it in motion, let’s jump a few more months back in time.
I found something out in March 2020. Right after my life got upended by a little something called covid-19 (it was this little thing that happened last year; I don’t know if you ever heard about it or not 🤷♀️) I wrote something simply for the joy of it. I didn’t think about plotting, and I planned next to nothing. All I had was a list of things I wanted to see the characters do in the Notes app on my computer. Each day, I would look at the list, and decide from that list that was already curated to stuff I wanted to write, what I wanted to write that day, in that moment.
I wrote so fast, I can’t even express just how much it blew my mind. I tried again, attempting to figure out if it was something I could replicate. I planned things a little more, but once again, I took note of stuff I wanted to see happen to the characters: I wrote down all my ideas that I wanted to write about, and I worked with those. After getting the main scenes down – the kind of scenes I like to refer to as ‘touchstone’ scenes – I worked the rest of the scenes into the plot. Once again, I didn’t put that much work into it, keeping the pressure off of myself.
And once again, I managed to blow my own mind with the shockingly huge number of words I managed to write in a comparatively short time.
My NaNoWriMo novel was entirely different in almost every aspect from these two manuscripts. It was meticulously researched and plotted down to what a character needed to feel in a scene. The outline was 22k words long. Yet, once again, I took my brainstorming time very seriously – as in, not at all. I literally just took the time to think about what I wanted to see happen to these characters.
I focused on what would make me happy to write, what I wanted to write.
And, months after finishing it, I was still completely in love with it.
(Though, that made trying to start rewriting it extremely difficult, seeing as the first step was to wait until I gained objectivity. 😑 I couldn’t seem to get myself unemotionally attached (emotionally unattached? 🧐 Someone please tell me which way it is, because both are grammatically correct 😅) to it; I just kept on loving it too much!)
How this Affects the Rest of Your Life
All aspects of your life are connected in more ways than you really realize or think about. If something is wrong in one of them, it affects you, as a person, and you can throw off all other aspects. I mean, have you ever been having trouble in your writing and then felt unhappy and stuck because of it? That probably affected how you interacted with your family, or how you did your school work, or acted at work.
Now, flip that around.
Imagine that you’re happy and excited to write. When you sit down to write, you get to write what you want to. If writing is a big part of your life (which I think it probably is if you’re reading my blog) then this can set the mood for your entire day. You’re pumped up, and happy – or at least at peace and satisfied. That means that, not only does your writing improve, your ability to write improve, the way your writing will go over with a reader improve, but it also improves the rest of your life.
Now, imagine if you took this concept and applied it to other parts of your life as well.
How can you improve your experience in something like school? I personally love listening to music, for example, and go hunting down more songs to listen to while writing (ones without words) as I work. (If you want some recommendations, by the way, I like to give out one every month! Make sure to subscribe for that 😉 ) I’ve literally been excited before to go and find more music so much so that I’ve looked forward to working on my school. Cool, right?
And if you can’t do something actively in your life to improve things, look a little closer at your life every day. What is something, though simple, that you are grateful for? Something that brings you joy? Focus on those, and I can promise you that they suddenly will all multiply. You’ll see them everywhere around you. Like, while I’m writing this right now, I’m listening to a song I reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllyyyyyyyyy like. It’s a small moment in time, sure, but it brings me joy. If I just listened to it passively, I would miss out on that.
Focus on joy in all aspects of your life, and it will multiply.
So why not start with doing it in your writing? 😉
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This is just the second post in this series where I’m helping writers to unlock their own unique potential. You won’t want to miss any, so make sure you subscribe! When you do, you’ll also get a free 7-day course on defeating both writer’s block and writer’s slump, the password to my Resources page (which changes monthly), and more fun exclusives! 😉 I hope to see you on the inside! 😃
What did you think of this post?
How much do you normally remember to focus on joy in the writing itself?
Have you ever tried this yourself?