Thursday, April 12, 2018

10 Ways to Rekindle the Joy of Writing


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I’m a member of several writing groups, and I’m always amazed at the different reactions people have to similar situations. For instance, one writer might leave a critique session in tears, questioning whether or not the call to write was real. Another writer might have just as challenging a critique and leave energized because she now has the insight she needs to improve.

I’ve begun paying attention to the way the writers I respect handle this writing life. I’ve noticed that even though life gets hard at times, they never lose their writing joy. I’m trying to take deliberate steps to guard my joy of writing and not let things and/or people steal it from me. Today I’d like to share what I’ve discovered with you.


Rekindling Our Writing Joy
1. Stop Being a One Way Writer. By this I mean that we’re only happy when things turn out one way. We want things a certain way and in a certain time-frame. Truthfully, it’s the writers who are flexible that retain their joy in this business.

2. Be willing to Let Go of Expectations. This one word can derail us for months, or even years, if we let it. It’s fine to make plans, but we can’t hang our hope—or our joy—on expectations.

3. Learning to Roll with the Punches. Hard times will come in this business. Landing a book deal and/or an agent is tough, and rarely happens quickly. When we have those two things, life can still blindside us. Contracts are cancelled, editors and agents move on without us. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and get back to writing, no matter what happens.

4. Stop Looking Backward. If we dwell on the way things used to be in publishing, we’ll always be miserable. Not because things were always better, but because we think we remember them being better. Whether they were or weren’t really isn’t the point. What we need to do is learn what we can from the past and then keep our eyes firmly forward.

5. Quit Chasing Trends. It’s tempting to tailor what we’re writing to what’s currently popular with publishers. But that’s a dead end road. There’s always something new, and it’s just not possible to pull out a crystal ball and write to what’s going to be hot when it hit the market. A wise writer  gave me some advice I’ve never regretted following. “Write your passion. Don’t settle. Write what you love.” Kristen Heitzmann

6. Don't Listen to the Negative Voices. There are two types of negative voices—the ones that live in your head and the ones belonging to those around us. I believe it’s the ones inside us that are the most dangerous. For one thing, they’re much more brazen. They say things that we’d never speak out loud. But if we let others also talk us out of following our dreams, they can be dangerous too. Take constructive criticism, but don’t let the negative words bring you down.

7. Refuse to Give in to Fear. No matter how much we achieve as writers, we’re still fearful. We’re afraid of failure, of ridicule, even of success. But those writers who keep their joy are the ones who continue on in spite of the fear. They even get stronger because of the fear they overcome.

8. Reject Perfectionism. We want to strive for our very best. But we need to understand that perfection is out of our grasp. Perfectionism can keep us from submitting our work for publication, and it can even keep us from writing. Aim high and always keep learning, but be willing accept the best you can do.

9. Write Regularly. I truly believe that if our purpose in life is writing, and we don't make time to write, we'll be miserable. I know so many people who want to write, know they're called to write, and yet let everything else squeeze out the time to write. They are some of the most stressed out folks you'll ever see. 

10. Don't Forget the Reason You Started Writing in the First Place. We can get so caught up in the chase, that we forget why we entered the race. For me, God made me a writer. I process life through words. When I hit hard times and good times, one of my first actions is to record it, process it, and cope with it through writing. When I return to that, no matter what else is going on, everything falls into place.

These are the ways I’ve found to rekindle the joy of writing. What would you add?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES


24 comments:

  1. Edie, great summary; great wisdom. I can only add that staying STRONGLY connected with a handful of serious writer friends who know that joy of writing has kept me going. I can't tell you how often their joys, successes, failures, and sharings have been the trigger to remind me, nudge me, and inspire me. My head stays filled with things bursting to be converted into ink. Interesting that our friendship bond is writing, as we rarely even see one another otherwise. It has made all the difference. Jay Wright; Foothills Writers Guild; Anderson, SC

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    1. Jay, I think that's a great addition! Thanks & Blessings, E

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  2. Great advice, Edie. Yes, I think, at least for me, the brazen voice that goes on in my head with negative thoughts is louder than anything I hear externally.Thanks for sharing your insight from the experiences you have gathered to inspire us to keep moving on, because inspiration from you and other writers is what helps squelch those screaming thoughts!

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    1. Barbara, stand strong and find others who will stand with you! Blessings, E

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  3. You nailed it, Edie! I'm not me when I don't write. Thanks for the reminder.

    Love you,
    Laurie 😘

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  4. Ms. Edie. If you played baseball, Hank Aaron would be worried. Another home run ma'am. For me, writing has always been my escape from the world. At the keyboard, these days, it seems I am magically transported to a safe space where all the ugliness and hurt can't follow. I find great peace when I am writing. As for joy, I maintain it these days by knowing that my writing will impact someone, somewhere, some day. I may never learn who is impacted by it, but God will. After all, isn't this why we write, to honor and glorify Him and His kingdom? God's blessings ma'am. Wonderful post.

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    1. Jim, those are great insights! Thanks for sharing, Blessings, E

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    2. Jim, I love your wisdom in your comments. Thank you for being faithful to God first, and to this wonderful blog with it's talented writers.

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  5. Edie: You are so wise. When I don't write I feel lost. I always love to come to your site because I know I will come away with something I need.

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    1. Thank you so much! I think we all need those places with barrier and rank --and that provide a place to share the joy and the struggle. Blessings, E

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  6. Congratulations on an insightful and helpful post!

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  7. I refuse to lose my joy of writing but the rejections hurt.
    All I can do is pray and keep writing.
    Thanks for the wise words, Edie!

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    1. Ingmar, that's not a court of last resort. By praying and continuing to write you are walking in a victory already won! Blessings, E

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  8. Amen and amen! I need to print this out and post it on the wall. Thanks for the great reminders!

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    1. Angie, I'll let you in on a secret. It's already printed and hanging on my wall! It's so easy to forget to follow the joy, Blessings, E

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  9. Always the encourager, Edie. Much appreciated!

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    1. Karen, I'm so glad I was able to encourage you! Blessings, E

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  10. thank you so much for this! It's brilliant and just what I needed to hear!

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  11. For me, it's number 10. "Don't Forget the Reason You Started Writing in the First Place. We can get so caught up in the chase, that we forget why we entered the race. For me, God made me a writer."
    I do certainly need to remember The REASON I'm writing this book - not for me, for fame or fortune - but to help kids learn what it's like to live on the mission field... AND because God gave me the stories, the talent, and the commission.

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    1. I can only add "Amen" Ms. Jackie. There are many things I'll never understand in this life, but knowing that what I do these days honors God and all His Son did, and does, for me makes everything else just not matter that much. I can't remember who said it here on this blog, but a sweet lady stated something along the lines of; "every book sold is a life touched..." (paraphrased). I pray yours is a bestseller ma'am. God's blessings; and thank you for your encouragement.

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    2. Jackie, it's the why that keeps us going through all the struggles! Jim, great insight, Blessings, E

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