It was during my weekly chat with my writing buddy when she revealed to me that she was having a hard time writing. She just didn’t feel like doing it and coming to the desk felt like a chore. What made it even worse, is that writing is her main source of income. Writing was beginning to feel like a duty, not a passion. The fun she used to have was eclipsed by the looming shadow of deadlines and paychecks.
All writers go through periods like this. We get frustrated at our production, or lack of it. We may get bored, feeling as though we’re churning out the same old stuff again and again. We’ve somehow lost the spark that ignited our passion in the first place. We’ve lost the ability to have fun. So how do we get that back?
We need to change our mindset and go back to why we started writing in the first place. Maybe it began as a hobby, a distraction from our real life, a way to step out of the ordinary and discover something remarkable. Remember that first poem, that first story, that first essay when we relished putting words on the paper, creating worlds, characters, pictures, or even just purging a poignant memory? We need to rediscover the power of manipulating those words, watching our own creations come to life before our eyes. We need to light the excitement that coursed through us when we read our first completed work, and remember how happy we felt sharing it for the first time.
We need to start with the words. There’s so many of them and so many ways to use them. It’s time to go back and play with them. Let go of any judgement and let the words dance on the page. Put them in any order you like – write about something enjoyable – a childhood memory, a trip, a book you loved. Take a step outside of your genre and experiment. Let go of perfection and allow yourself to write silly poems, songs, and stories. Go back to those discarded, half-finished stories, poems, or essays that are hidden away in notebooks and computer folders and revive them. You might find something that will set your heart beating with anticipation. I’ve been rewriting poems I wrote more than 20 years ago, and I feel like a kid discovering a shiny new toy.
There will always be times we need to revive the fun in writing, to pull ourselves from the edge of that bog of writing as a chore. Writing was fun once, wasn’t it? If it’s not, then why do we do it?
So let go of the obligation to write, and just have fun writing – because when you do, your readers will have fun reading.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.