Is Writing Your Joy?

Of  course, I don’t expect writing to be your one and only joy, but is it still a joy? I think writers begin writing in a frenzy of excitement and joy and emotion. We daydream of conversations between our hero and heroine. We doodle grimaces on napkins while we think of our antagonist and his wily ways. I can personally attest to losing days worth of sleep in the name of writing. I’ve spent countless hours contriving events to break my beloved MCs heart, only to shed tears along with her as it unfolds, then hoot aloud in victory when she overcomes. I mean, when true love conquers all, good wins the battle, and my broken character stands tall and confident once again, I am instantly seven-years-old, spinning in my mother’s garden, face to the brilliant sun, arms out in the breeze and joy-filled beyond the constraint of human words.

And then there’s what’s happening now.

Today, I finished reading my tenth novel in as many days, and though reading is many things, including therapeutic and researchy and entertaining, today I realized I was hiding. I’ve been hiding from writing, completely avoiding the very thing that brings me joy. Why would a writer ever do that? There are probably a myriad of reasons, but mine was fear and paralysis.

Writing, blogging, and social networking, in the name of publication – or the dream and hope of publication, has rendered me wordless, and I’ve been avoiding my joy. Questions are mounted in my mind today, and I can’t answer them. What should I write now? I have a manuscript out with an agent. But what now? Do I work on a sequel to something far from due? Probably. Should I work on an old manuscript I love, but needs serious revision? Probably. Should I sit stalking my email for news on submissions? Probably NOT.

Sometimes we’re pulled in so many directions, there’s too much love going around. LOL. I love it all and it all needs my attention (except the email stalking – that comes with being a writer LOL).So, I sit here undecided, stressed out and wondering: Where’s the joy?

Well, I love to write, so I need to write, and this is the advice I’m offering to anyone else who feels a little paralyzed in their writing joy. Just get started. Write what you love because you love it. Write for the joy it brings you and nothing more. Cuddle it and polish it and send it off with all the love you can because it is an extension of you, a piece of your heart, your hard work, and a show of your creativity.

Now, I’m taking my own advice. I’ve shared my paralysis with you and I’m headed back to the YA Mystery which had me smiling before I gave into the “What ifs” of this industry and walked away from her. I’m putting down my library books and picking up MY book.

Writing is my joy, my release, my escape, and today I’m reclaiming it as exactly that.


10 comments to Is Writing Your Joy?

  • Julie,

    You have so eloquently summed up what happens to many of us. We find everything to do but write. It’s like putting off a chore that must be done (although I don’t consider it a chore) but you feel SO GOOD when you finally accomplish the task. Social networking is a double edged sword. It promotes our work but can keep us from finishing it as well. Sort of like my commenting on your blog (but this REALLY is important). Now I will go and write a bit and picture you doing the same with smile on your face.


  • Running from your work is definitely not a good sign, however at least you realized that’s what you were doing. :) Sometimes time off from writing is necessary to recharge the batteries, though.

    I am a firm believer of the stance that you have to put more words in (reading) to make up for the ones that you send out into the world (writing). Otherwise, without sources of inspiration like other books, the well of creativity might dry up. Few things inspire as well as the power of a well told story. It can make me say “Oh, I could do that, maybe even better!” :)

  • Thanks for taking time out or your busy schedule to blog! LOL I completely understand. I love to write but often find myself at a crossroads. Which way do I go? And each time I tell myself just write Jen, don’t worry about anything else, just write. I’m actually guilty of the same this week. I’ve made myself write at least 1K words for 2 nights to say I’ve made progress but I find myself straying. I either grab a book, read it, finish it, grab another or I beta for a lovely writer friend of mine (you might know her). But I’m trying to hide as well. I need to write. I want to write. Just not sure what to work on now.

    Thanks. You always offer a pot of gold at the end of your blog rainbow. Jen

  • Anne Brown-Speer

    Thanks so much for this! I’ve been doing the same reading/hiding bit. I needed to see this.

  • I TOTALLY relate. I am feeling it these days which is weird because I DO have a writing project that feels very possible. It’s just that I need to remind myself to sit and write. Turn off my brain, quit checking email, and write. But like someone else says, sometimes you need a break! An that’s okay too. Just think of you being “on pause.”

  • Writing is my joy – i feel so free when I write, I take flight and soar, but I haven’t done any writing for nearly two weeks and I miss it, but i am a great procrastinator. I’m going to try to make this weekend a writing marathon and re-capture my joy. :D
    Thanks for the great post.

  • I think we are very similar in writing techniques and idiosyncrasies – this is now multiple posts where I’ve identified personally with your topic. Very compelling stuff here. :)

    In short: I know exactly how you feel. I do the same thing. There’ll be DAYS that go by with not a lick of writing done! Not even a sentence! A word! And it drives me nuts! So what am I doing instead? Blogging? Tweeting? Watching TV (not so much)? Hanging with friends? Or…hiding?

    I think the old phrase “only as good as the next idea” comes into play here – where it’s a good idea to have fresh ideas jotted down for the purpose of going back and choosing something to do next, once your current project is done.

    Writing is absolutely a joy. It’s the one thing I know that will remain a constant in my life. I’m hoping to be like Ray Bradbury, who just celebrated a birthday, STILL KICKIN’ AND WRITIN’ AS AN OLD FART! LOL. So I agree – write. Write something, anything! Just to get juices flowing, and to maintain that joy we all know too well. Great post, Julie!
    - David

  • this is such a very interesting post and all the comments that followed as well. Writers are such a synchronistic lot – don’t you think? If we all write because we enjoy it – why avoid it?
    Perhaps it’s not as enjoyable as we all think – or perhaps we are all so project oriented that we don’t believe that posting to a blog is writing? Now that’s food for thought!

  • Writing is my joy, my passion, my life. It’s in my blood! I have to write, otherwise the characters in my head will drive me crazy ;)
    Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too?

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