Finding Writing Joy Again

A social media platform recently reminded me of a posting I did four years ago.

“Book 1 done – what a HIGH!!!!!”

How clearly I remember that day, writing THE END in bold-faced type with a flourish of fingers on the keyboard. It didn’t matter that the long process of editing awaited, or that I had not yet decided if I wanted to use a pen name, or that I was uncertain about how the book would be distributed.

Drafting, the heavy lifting in my opinion, was DONE. And I did in fact feel high.

Where do those feelings go over time? Since then, I have completed seven more full length novels in that Flynn’s Crossing romantic suspense series, and five novellas. Two more are almost completed. And I added two to another series with the third almost done. There’s a standalone novel and some nonfiction writing tips books also in process.

In all honesty, if you’re writing to a production schedule, the joy can easily seep out of the process. But nothing ever felt as joyous as that first time. I want that feeling back.

Over the holidays, I met a thirteen-year-old writer who has held on to her joy. I asked her about her writing – interrogated her, actually! Here’s what she taught me.

She doesn’t care about what genre her writing is in – she writes because she loves the story she’s telling.

 She doesn’t worry about what people will think of it. Take it or leave it, since she writes because the characters demand it.

She knows there will be changes, editing, and new sparkly bling she can add later.

She doesn’t try to be perfect. That’s what editing is for.

It’s called a draft for a reason. She doesn’t fuss over word choice, perfect syntax, or too much tell because showing is for a later version.

She taught me so much about retaining the joy of writing! Because the market rises and falls on discoverability and this is my business now, I have fallen into the trap of treating it like a job. I’ve forgotten the fun in telling a story for the sheer joy of discovering the characters, their journey and their destination. I’ve tried to make things perfect on the first pass, because I’m afraid I’ll forget nuances later on.

Here is my new commitment to bring the joy back.

WRITE. Write fast and loose and without hesitation.

DO NOT reword, rephrase, rerun, reshape or reconstruct.

The first draft can be very drafty – put on a sweatshirt!

What are you doing to preserve the joy in your writing process? How do you bring it back? Everyone – particularly me –will appreciate your tips, so please share!

 

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