Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How to Enjoy Writing Again When it Feels Like You've Forgotten How

On Sunday afternoon, me, my brother, and our three good friends packed up our van with a bunch of pool inflatables and headed off for a day at the beach. We spent the whole day at a campground where my grandparents live in the summer, which sits on four different lakes. The sun was out, it was perfectly windy, and the beach was practically empty. We swam and hung out for hours (I have a sunburn and Rudolph nose to prove it) and then we all walked to this little camp store/arcade for ice cream and games. It was a fantastic day, and I really hope to have more like it.
The strange part about it, though? I didn't take a single picture.
Usually when I have a day like this with my friends, I'm taking pictures constantly. I get group shots, and selfies, and pictures of the sand and water. Then I'll look through all of them on my way home, and eventually post them on Facebook.
But this time, I didn't take pictures of the beach or of my friends at all. This time, I simply just enjoyed myself. And it was relaxing! I left my phone in my bag and didn't look back. I enjoyed my time with my friends and didn't have to worry about my phone, or dropping it in the sand or water, or getting enough pictures for Facebook. I just got to have fun.
And yes, I, being the dorky self that I am, found a way to link this little scenario to the writing world.


Have you ever gone from writing every single day, to hardly writing at all? Have you finished a book and spent months and months editing it, and then went back to writing and felt that things were different? Maybe the words didn't flow as easily, or inspiration just wouldn't come to you. Maybe you've spent a few months pitching your first book to agents or getting your manuscript all polished for publication. The point is, you're trying to write again, but it's not fun anymore--it's work. And everybody knows that work is not something that's easy to enjoy.
Lately, I've found myself struggling with enjoying my writing time, and that makes me sad. Before I finished my first book, I wrote every single day because I wanted to. Now, I feel like I have to make myself write.
Why? Well, that's easy to answer. *Ahem*
What if an agent hates this story concept? What if it never works? What if it never gets published? What if an agent thinks this plot is too cliche? What if all of this is worthless? What if, what if, what if.
See what I mean?
Luckily, I've come up with a little trick that helps me remember how to enjoy myself when I'm writing. To put it simply:

1. Close the door
2. Put headphones on
3. Listen to something non-distracting
4. Write your heart out
5. Repeat as necessary

And that's it. It's just that simple. When you've found yourself struggling to enjoy writing, the problem is not your writing--it's you. You need to figure out what it is that's keeping you from enjoying yourself, and destroy it. Worried about what agents may think? Force those thoughts aside and write. Bored with your current story? Open a blank word document and write anything you want. Scared people will think your writing sucks? Lock your door and write for you, and you only.
Sometimes you just have to take a step back from things and allow yourself to have fun, just like when I put my phone down at the beach. Once I put away all of my cares and distractions, I was able to truly enjoy myself. Writing is a craft, and it's work, but at its very core it really is a lot of fun, and it should be enjoyed. So don't let bad thoughts, nerves, or anything else keep you from enjoying what you love. Just write!

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22

2 comments:

  1. Very helpful. Those shucking fears about people thought my writing sucks, publishing agents would think my story is waaay so cliche, my story wouldn't work, and those bored feelings... I just can't bear it anymore. But I'll try to enjoy it. Write to myself. And for me only. Thanks for this post! Very useful! :'D

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    1. No problem, Inasni! Thanks for reading :)

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