I’m going to start with a little story.
I was having a vacation at long last after a killer fall and winter, and I was SO EXCITED. I was staying with my sister who was attending college in another state, she shared a house with some nice girls, and I was going to have all the time in the world. Well, a couple weeks. In February, just the month before, I had written a 50,000 word novel for my sister in two weeks flat. I had worked it in around running the household while the adults of my family were out of town, and I had just aced it. There was no reason, I thought, that I could not do the same thing out at my sister’s house, with no one to take care of but myself, nowhere to go, and limitless coffee.
I got there, and I wrote, but writing was hard. It felt indifferent. I was a bit taken aback. I did not know where this sudden change had come from. I started a couple stories out there, and was even excited about them, but I could tell deep down that this change was not just writer’s block, or laziness. I did not love it. It reached the point where I wasn’t sure if I was supposed be an author. To me, the idea of having your love for your writing dry up was an unimaginable concept. And yet it happened.
I took time off (except for a crazy five days where I worked to finish Camp NaNoWriMo) and did some serious thinking and praying about what this meant and why it happened.
The answer is, it was a lot of things, and I still have not figured it all out. Part of it was physical and mental exhaustion, cramming my days so full that I could not think; part of it was God making me check how willing I was to leave writing in his hands not mine. Let me urge you: hold onto your precious writing with loose hands. It doesn’t mean not working for it, or quitting at the first resistance, but do not cling to it so hard that it is your idol. If you feel resistant at the idea of God taking it away, then maybe you love it too much.
But when the dust settled and I had given it a lot of thought and prayer, I saw no reason why I shouldn’t continue to pursue writing, and if the Lord decides to take it out of my hands, so be it.
So I set out to rediscover the joy of writing.
I went back to square one. I looked at my favorite writing quotes, haunted my writing boards on Pinterest, and made time to read interesting articles. My goal was to write something every day—anything, and any length. No pressure, just pure enjoyment. I thought about why I wrote in the first place, and played around with my mission statement. I took time to rest, to recharge creatively with movies, books, watercolors, music, you name it.
It felt so, so good. And it made a big difference. I have been able to interact on social media far more than I have in months, I have been wiser about my rest and work choices, and my writing is coming along steadily.
So take some time to remember why you do what you do. Take some time to rest and recharge your creativity. And remember that writing is not about the numbers or what will impress, but about serving God and blessing others.
8 thoughts on “Rediscovering the Joy of Writing”
Emily, thanks so much for sharing this. I can relate to so much of it—I’ve gone through various struggles with my writing in the past year or so, including the physical and mental exhaustion and wrestling with the conviction that my writing could be an idol, an escape, or both. And I feel like I’m still sorting things out. This post is a real encouragement.
Thank you! I am glad that I am not alone, and that accomplished writers like yourself still feel that way.
Thanks for this encouragement. I have stopped writing stories lately, perhaps because of pressure. This was a great reminded that we should write to serve God; thank you for writing this!
You are welcome!
I think we all have times of dryness. I have struggled with very, very long periods of time, and very short. I’ve had a very turbulent winter, which has made concentrating very difficult. But there is a time for everything, and I agree that prayer, song, reflection and patience is the best way to rediscover it!
Yup! And trust me, the worst spell of writer’s block I ever had was while I was working full time! I had no brain left and couldn’t concentrate.
Boy do I know the feeling… though not for the same reasons. March was not a kind month, personally as well as creatively. Thank goodness the trip to Iceland happened when it did. It was like hitting the “reset” button: It gave me time and distance away from story troubles and normal life in general, and I came home clear-headed enough to make some important decisions about my writing… and inspired / ready to get back to work.
Your post is a reminder that all writers go through these struggles, and that we should never feel alone as a result. I’m glad you were able to dive back into your unique stream of bliss, Emily. Stay with the flow now. It’s a wonderful feeling to experience. 🙂
Thank you! I am glad I’m not alone. Hope your writing is going well!
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