Most of us have heard of Marie Kondo–the organizational guru who wrote about sparking joy by getting rid of things. She’s recently changed her mind about things and being tidy with children under foot. We can laugh at the irony of it all or realize that we might find more joy in our lives as writers if we get rid of a few things too. Maybe it’s time to let go of our fear of rejection, perfection and imposter thinking. Perhaps it’s time to surrender our dreams for God’s plan.
There is a tension that comes with being a writer. We want our words to shine to the masses. But what if there aren’t people reading our words? What if that book deal is taking too long? What if it never happens? Is this tension between your initial dream and your current reality robbing the joy from your heart?
If God has given you the heart to write and the gifting to do so, it’s time to bring back the joy to your writing life and experience. Remember He is always working towards what is best for you. Daring to trust His timing will be a game changer and a joy lifter.
Here are just a few of my thoughts on the subject of bringing back the joy of being a writer.
Four ways to bring back joy in your writing experience:
- Write from acceptance not rejection.
- Discover your inner researcher.
- Write without editing—let your thoughts flow.
- Enter into your reader’s experience.
Write from acceptance not rejection
What are your writing dreams? Are you racing towards the goal or are you distracted by possible rejection? Some may think that only a book deal legitimizes our gift with words. With a book being the only goal, all else can seem like rejection, being overlooked or missing out. This race to be published at all costs can get in the way of writing from the fullness of who God created us to be—long before we ever thought of having a publishing deal.
When we write to be noticed by people we are already writing from a place of rejection. We know the stakes are high. There are platforms to consider, a limited number of opportunities at publishing houses and other people with the same dream. But writing can take many different forms. Don’t limit yourself to just your name on the cover of a book. Be open and flexible, using your gifts to glorify God. When we write from a place of accepting the fullness of who we are and embracing God at work in our life —we write from a place of purpose and joy–whether it’s an article, a blog post or a book.
Discover your inner researcher
Has writing become a chore? Make your experience fun again by tapping into research. When we dig deep, we find a multitude of interesting things. This is true in nonfiction and fiction alike. Don’t just write, throw yourself into the process by researching the details of your subject or story, thinking about what could go into your words and expression. Not only does this make writing more interesting, but it brings back the fun of the craft. Be a learner, a fact finder and watch the joy enter the scene again.
Write without editing—let your thoughts flow
The biggest joy killer in writing is trying to make our first drafts perfect. When being precise and measured we fail to be creative and free flowing with our words and thoughts. This makes writing more of a chore than it needs to be. Just write. Then rewrite. Then read it out loud and rewrite again. You will find yourself cutting and pasting, moving sections into different places and like a beautiful puzzle the end result will surprise you and bring joy in the craft again.
Enter your reader’s experience
Writing is never about us. We write to either entertain, uplift, instruct or inspire the reader.
Remember that when writing. As much as we have things we want to say, let the focus be on the person who will be reading our words. What is the felt need? Does this address it in a way that is helpful? Is the take-away clear to the reader. Afterall our readers are people just like us who might be living in the middle of messy situations. Like us they know about less than perfect lives and either need a story to take them away or biblical truth to inspire them to hold on to faith. It’s always about our reader. God calls us to use our gifts to help others.
The tension in writing can be addressed by changing our focus from a me-centered dream to a God centered surrender of our will and talents for the benefit of others. We don’t have to see our name on a book to be a legitimate writer. We just need to start where we are, stay focused on helping others through our words and write from a place of being fully loved by God.
Speaking of living loved—He is crazy about you, has plans for you and has equipped you fully for His purpose.
What are some things that you can get rid of as a writer?
What ways can you stay focused and live in a place of joy as you write?
The night crawls by on turtle-feet,
tomorrow will be hard and long,
but in abyss I chance to meet
a monster, and he sings a song:
“Know the truth of what you live,
and know that it’s not fair,
but also know that you can give
a precious gift, if you will dare
to live life through the stabbing pain,
to place the world ahead of you,
to find a reason to remain,
and not burn off like morning dew
but make that dewdrop prism one
with love of the fast-rising Son.”
This is beautiful, Andrew. ♥️
Elissa, thank you!
Kim Janine Ligon
I absolutely love God’s three answers. Your advice is spot on. Especially about just write and leave the editing until later. Thank you for this hopeful look at our craft!
This last weekend my friends let me read a few chapters of the WIP at our annual retreat– bless them! The nurse stretched out in front of the fireplace, the Director (a week past hip replacement) beside me and the retired fifth grade teacher directly across from me. They each listen in different way and it feeds my soul to say the words and tell the story and sense their reactions. Including a bit of snoring beside me, ha! But the teacher drinks it in and is such a well of encouragement and the nurse laughs at things I didn’t know were funny. Then they ask pointed questions afterward and I know I have LOTS more work to do!!! Thank you for asking the question.
Thank you so much for this! It is one I will print to read and read again! Why do my eyes keep coming back to me? So important to remember the reader, and of course, the Lord!
April P Pool
Thank you for this encouragement today! I especially resonate with the truth that “Daring to trust his timing will be a game changer and a joy lifter.” He makes all thing beautiful in his time!
If I may add a second comment…think I maybe had a mild heart attack today, and I was thinking about the list of prayer answers…this, on the face of it, does not seem like ‘something better’. (I have a DNR, so no hospital for me.)
But I’m not God, and I have to accept that the road to fulfillment may well run through the Valley of the Shadow.
It’s terrifying, as I write this, but like a small child in the night, I put up my hand, and trust that it WILL be taken, and held in Love.
God, please are You listening?
God, please, are You there?
Can’t You see tears glistening
as I’m waiting with my prayer?
Was what I asked so out of line
in paragraph and letter?
Is this trial how You refine
my heart? Lord, is this BETTER?
“Son, I’m sorry for the pain,
and more so for the fear,
but take My word, if you remain,
you’ll find you will draw near,
not to the dreaming from your youth,
but to My heart of Loving Truth.”
Thanks for y’all’s indulgence.
Kristen Joy Wilks
I have found so much joy and fulfillment just in writing the blog for the camp where we work. Hardly anyone finds it, but the encouragement it brings to those who do is so vital.
Thanks for such an encouraging word of truth about writing and publishing. I’ve been discovering these things. As joy flows, do do our words.
This is a wonderful post, Debbie. In the middle of the research, or brain fog, or the weariness of the work, joy can be the first thing to go. Thank you for reminding us that we are ultimately in control of—and should take responsibility for—how we respond to those things that gets in the way of getting the words down.