Monday, October 26, 2009

The Joy of Writing

Have you ever felt like you've lost the joy of writing? That sitting in front of your keyboard and putting words on the page is a chore? You're not alone. A lot of writers feel this at times - not just unpublished writers either. It can happen at any stage of your career.

Here are a few things I learned this weekend about renewing your joy.

1. Have a plan - without a plan, you lose focus and without focus, you can get lost. That can suck the joy out of just about anything. Instead of telling yourself you need to finish your book by the end of the year, work out a words-per-day goal. Come up with a plan that's manageable instead of seemingly insurmountable.

2. Resolve conflicts - Unresolved conflict can suck the joy out of your life and your work. Do you feel like the time you spend writing should be spent with your family? Work out a schedule with them so that they understand your hour after dinner writing isn't time away from them as much as it is time pursuing your dream. Whatever conflict is bringing you down, resolve it.

3. Nourish your spirit - When's the last time you read a book, watched a movie or took a walk without feeling like you should have been writing instead? Stop feeling guilty about nourishing your creative spirit! Time away from your manuscript isn't wasted when you're doing something that refills the creative well. Make time in your writing schedule to read. It's truly one of the most inspirational things a writer can do.

What other ways can you think of to renew your joy? I'd love to hear what you do to keep yourself a happy, healthy writer.


  1. Hi Kristen :)
    Thank you for the great post.
    Very helpful advice on getting the love for writing back & also on balance.
    Love & Best Wishes,

  2. The hope that never dies with the words 'what if'... that keeps me going =) Thanx for the tips!

  3. Great post Kristen! You pretty much nailed exactly what I do. 1 & 3 were never a problem, but #2, I had to learn to deal w/ through trial and error. Figuring out how to balance writing and time with the hubby is the biggest conflict I've had to deal with and sometimes it's still a struggle, but we're slowly making it work :) Other ways I renew myself include bike riding (I feel so free and I plot in my head), hanging out with friends, and meeting with my writing chapter.

  4. What a great post thanks so much. Attending this weekend's NJ conference and meeting published and unpublished writers with the same problems as me and seeing how they overcame them that renewed my joy also learning new techniques.

  5. Great stuff! Thank you, Kristen.

    I need to follow #1 right now. I need to get a new plan devised.

  6. Fantastic post.

    Sometimes I think as women we are so used to the self sacrifice mode that when we sit down to write we feel guilty and let our family add to that. Would our husbands feel guilty and let the family manipulate them into stopping thier work? It's OK to make boundries for your self as an artist, to fill that need and well inside you.

    Sometimes baking and cooking refill it for me. Sometimes playing with the animals. Many times it's painting and being crafty. I guess whatever feeds your soul at the time.

    9:49 AM

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  7. I think I like the last one best. Lately I've been feeling guilty about starting to read a new book, like I'm afraid I'll get so sucked in I'll abandon my writing entirely. Which would be bad, because hello, deadline! But you're right, I NEED to be reading.

  8. I can't believe you posted this today! I PROMISE I was thinking this this morning. You know the verse in the bible where David prays that God will "renew the joy of his salvation"?
    That's what I was thinking today, only for writing.
    This is just so weird, but kind of cool.
    Great tips! I'm going to keep them in mind since my joy in writing is feeling more like a pain. I hate that too. I want to get into my stories and love my characters, but right now I don't even want to open my laptop. Very bad. *sigh*
    Thank you!

  9. My Plan: I write after dark so my creativity comes from what ever happens during the day.

    Resolve Conflicts: I don't take things personally, so if I have a conflict to resolve it happens right then.

    My Spirit: Getting outdoors with my iPod and feet to the pavement is so refreshing (and painful). I have a pretty darn good home life regardless of being the only estrogen in my house ;-) The men folk respect my writing time as they are asleep...snoring. LOL!

    Love this post! Had a blast at retreat even though I didn't get the full weekend.

  10. These are great tips. I've realized that the clutter of my house can get to me and I have to clean furiously before I can write. Some would probably say I am just using it as an excuse to not write but I don't think so.

    I have a new shipment of books coming any day now to nourish that spirit of mine. Can't wait. :)

    Happy writing sweets.

  11. Great thoughts Kitty! I also find - juggling a day job that's sort of stressfull plus regular old homelife, Exercise is a MUST.

    Everyone says its best to do it first thing in the morning, but I've found I need the transition time between donut factory and home, to give my brain a break.

    also - getting together with other writers seems to help fire me back up. Even if its just chitty chatting, somehow it always comes back to writing.

  12. Ummmm, are you reading my mind?

  13. Great post, Kristen. #3 works best for me. When I feel like my joy is flagging, I step away from the writing and read some awesome books. It's like refilling the well. If it's really bad, I wallow in my favorite books until I feel better. =o)

  14. Great post as I contemplate the chore!