Happy New Year! May it rain blessings and kindness upon us all.
The lead up to Christmas is all hustle and bustle and busyness and shopping and family and ARGH! It can feel overwhelming, but then we hit that post-Christmas slump where we finally get to have that little lie down we’ve been craving. I LOVE this time to relax and be quiet, away from all the noise of the world, to review the year that’s been and dream about the year ahead.
My word for this year is FUN! I know I’m going to be busy again, but this year I want to make sure I’m enjoying the ride more – finding the joy in even the most mundane of tasks. Doing the dishes is fun if I blow bubbles. Driving my car can be fun if I’m singing and admiring the view. Teaching for me is always fun, but writing, well sometimes over the past few years, writing has felt torturous. I want it to be fun again.
Do you feel this way too? Has the sparkle dulled on your writing dreams? Have rejections tarnished the shine on those stories you loved to write? How can we reclaim our joy in our creative writing practice?
Liz Gilbert wrote about this in her wonderful book Big Magic. From her I learnt that I needed to take the pressure off my writing. To stop expecting it to pay the bills. To stop blaming it for getting rejected. Once I allowed my creativity more playtime to just muck around and try new things, experiment with new forms, and write small pieces just for fun, I felt much better. I remembered the fun I had as a kid making up stories and the thrill of seeing where the story took me, seemingly of its own will. Don’t expect your writing to pay your bills, instead expect it to give you thrills! Write for fun to a few prompts or write a quick piece of flash in an unfamiliar genre. Anything to give you that spark of newness.
For many years now I’ve been struggling with the accumulated mountain of rejections that had been building up over two decades of writing and submitting. I know we have to submit a lot in order to get published (SUBMIT SUBMIT SUBMIT) but submitting a lot also means a mountain of rejections. And rejection is never fun. A dark cloud hung over everything I wrote, every story I submitted was cloaked in a dreary gloom of fear and hopelessness. I knew this wasn’t helping my chances of publication but no matter how I tried to feel differently about the realities of this profession, those feelings persisted.
However, during my period of reviewing and renewing after Christmas, I realised that I could change this feeling and help myself feel more positive and excited about my writing again. I took a feeling of great joy from another activity – for me that’s bodysurfing, catching the perfect wave, – and saw myself catching that wave with a new publisher beside me, both of us holding my book out before us, grinning like fools! And like magic, I felt better. It felt silly and fun and light-hearted and joyful, the way I’d felt about writing and getting published when I first started back in 2002. I enlarged the vision to include readers of my book, all catching that wave with me and my publisher, laughing as we rode that wave together, my book held out in front. It still makes me smile.
What makes you laugh? What brings a smile to your face? Maybe it’s climbing a mountain, or singing a song, or holding a baby, or baking a cake or ferris wheels or Mickey Mouse or having a bath. Whatever it is, see if you can transfer that feeling to your writing dreams and shift some of those stubborn old disappointments and beliefs that aren’t bringing you any joy.
A new beginning is arising, and we are here to run with it, to create and express and share our stories with the world, with joy and the knowledge that our voices deserve to be heard.
What are your writing dreams for 2023? How can you fill them with a feeling of fun? Let’s enjoy this year and help each other as much as we can.
I’ve created a new ONLINE CRASH COURSE IN CREATIVE WRITING to help my new writing friends that covers all the elements essential to writing good stories, be they fiction or memoir or a mix of both. I’ve taken everything I’ve learnt over my two decades in the writing and publishing industry and created this fun, interactive, LIVE online course starting on January 21. See more and join up HERE.
Wishing you a wonderful year full of inspiration, glowing sentences, waves to catch, and most of all, readers and publishers who pick up your story and see it glow!
Lots of love,