Stand at the edge of a cliff, jump off, and build your wings on the way down.
This week has been all about recharging my writing life, getting out of a slump—well, not exactly a slump; more of a grump—and reconnecting with the pleasure, the joy, the fun of writing.
Guess what? It worked! And it yielded a treasure trove of material on the joy of the writing life. Here’s the best.
Two Thousand Blog Posts on the Joy of Writing. Perhaps there aren’t quite 2000 posts on this topic in the blogosphere, but it seemed like there were. Almost everyone who writes about writing writes about the joy of writing and how to attain it—which is a testament to how hard it is to actually get there. Most of the advice is rather pat and obvious, but here are a couple of blogs that had some useful ideas:
How to Rediscover the Joy of Writing on the Daily Writing Tips blog. This is a four-year-old blog post, but writer’s problems haven’t changed in the past four years—actually, they haven’t changed in the past four hundred years—and this post offers some useful suggestions. However, what I like best about it is actually the comment made at the end by a writer named Kristi Holl: “When burn-out strikes, I like to write something that I KNOW I will never try to publish. It gets that infernal editor off your back.” That may possibly be the best advice ever.
8 Ways to Increase the Joy of Writing by John Soares on ProductiveWriters.com also offer a list of useful tips. The tips aren’t particularly unique, but they make sense, and I like his basic premise that life is too short to waste on feeling bad about your writing.
The Courage to Write and A Writer’s Book of Hope by Ralph Keyes. I’ve recommended both of these books before, but I went back to them this week. They’re too good and too relevant to omit from this list. Thoroughly researched and rich with ideas, they both go into much more depth than the usual self-help pablum. Keyes’s suggestions are solid and reasonable and don’t offer false promises. I highly recommend these books to writers who are struggling with fear or self-doubt and also to the two or three writers out there who aren’t.
"The Joy of Writing" by Wislawa Szymborska. Another resource I’ve referred to before (probably several times) is this work by the Nobel Prize-winning poet. But it's worth revisiting. If you haven’t read this poem this week, do it now.
Writing for a Living—a Joy or a Chore. I’m including this one for the irony. Most of these writers are pretty glum. “Sitting alone in a room for hours while essentially talking in your head about people you made up earlier and then writing it down for no one you know does have many aspects which are not inherently fulfilling,” writes Al Kennedy. “Writing a novel is largely an exercise in psychological discipline – trying to balance your project on your chin while negotiating a minefield of depression and freak-out,” says Hari Kunzru. “The struggle of writing is fraught with a specialised form of anguish, the anguish of knowing one will never get it right, that one will always fail, and that all one can hope to do is 'fail better',” adds John Banville. Only Will Self, who I quoted earlier this week, sounds like he really enjoys his craft. So why am I including this rat’s nest of grievance and complaint? Because, paradoxically, it helped me. Remembering that I’m not the only writer out their who struggles with the blues lifted my spirits. “Hey, there’s nothing wrong with me!” I thought as I read these quotes. Check them out.
A Conversation with Ray Bradbury. I’ve saved the best for last. Eight shimmering minutes with one of the masters—and one of the most joyful, fully alive writers ever. If this interview doesn’t send you to your keyboard with your soul on fire, nothing will.
Causes Jill Jepson Supports
Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, Interational Society for the Protection of Burros and Mustangs, National Wildlife Federation,...