Do you remember the first time you had a great story idea? Remember how exciting it was imagining character names, daydreaming what would happen next, writing it all down? Wasn’t it fun? Are you still having fun with your writing?
I love setting goals and keeping track of things, counting my words and pages, having something that shows me I’m making progress. I think goals and accountability are important in our creative lives. It’s often hard to let ourselves fit in our creative work when there’s so much else we feel we should be doing, and goals and progress reports can help us give our writing the time it deserves.
Sometimes, though, we can get really caught up in setting goals, meeting goals, reporting our progress. Our writing becomes another “have to do,” and we can lose the joy.
If you’re finding yourself trudging forward, thinking you have to get to your writing, if you aren’t feeling the thrill of creating your new words, here are some ideas on how to get the fun and joy back:
- Ask yourself, “How can I make this more fun?” and “How can I make this easier for myself?” Write those questions down in your journal or put them on sticky notes where you’ll see them often. You don’t need answers. Just let your mind percolate the questions, and you’ll find yourself finding ways to fit in more fun and ease.
- Write yourself a letter or a list about why you started writing—include what drew you in, what you love most about it, why you want to write. Keep this someplace where you can see it and read it often to remind yourself that you love this work.
- Write a scene where your characters go out and have a great time. Take them bowling, surfing, to an amusement park, out dancing. It doesn’t matter if this will get cut later. Let your characters have fun and enjoy yourself alongside them. Let yourself write things that are fun to write.
- Make a list of the writing activities you love the most (for example, I love writing dialogue), and include at least one of them in your daily writing as often as you can.
- Get yourself a writing buddy, a little toy or trinket that you keep with you when you write. It can be an action figure, a stuffed animal—pick something that makes you smile.
- Try some writing games and toys to liven things up and make it fun. Try out Story Cubes, tarot cards (Tarot for Writers for example), or I Ching (like I Ching for Writers)
- Collect writing prompts and links to writing prompt websites (my favorite is Toasted Cheese). When things are a little to serious and stuffy, make a game of picking a random prompt and working it into your story
Most of all, let yourself relax. Let your goals and plans guide you, not rule you. Happy writing!