Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Ten Joy Stealers for Writers

If you’ve been writing long enough I don’t have to expound upon the following joy stealers much. You know them and you know them well. Writing is not for the feeble, the quick quitters or the wishy-washy. 

Writing is for those with malleable hearts, insatiable curiosities, and ironclad resolve.

Because there are joy stealers lurking and ready to rob you from the unexplainable joy writing can inspire.

And they are…

When you hold up the picture of what you thought the writing life would look like and it doesn’t even vaguely resemble what writing actually is.

Distraction Deluge
When life hits you with a bombardment of commitments and you’re squeezed dry of time and energy.

Somewhere along the way you lost the majestic wonder that motivated you when you began writing. The confidence and belief that you were meant for this shrinks to the size of a mustard seed. (Hmm…a mustard seed.)

Dry Spell
Ideas disappear into thin air like genie smoke, triggering a season of drought. You find yourself flirting with the belief you were wrong and that you’re ideas won’t ever grow green and vibrant again.

Criticism comes your way without a shred of anything constructive in it.

Derelict Characters
You’ve gotten so caught up in the story you’ve forgotten who’s writing who. Until one day your characters rebel and attempt to throw you entirely off course. Worse than a rabbit trail, this is a career direction detonator. (A key time to listen because characters always have something interesting to teach us, but ultimately to also remember whose boss.)

Deceptive Deathblow
Rejections, people who promised to be you’re biggest support but who fail to meet your expectations, the love of writing shriveling like embers turned to ash. Somewhere along the way you mistakenly substituted love of craft for so many other seductive loves—approval, acceptance, validation, timing, attention, etc.

Deadline Drift
Date looming and your mind draws a big fat blank. You feel like you’re writing for the man. A machine. The romanticism of the craft is stripped away.

Dead end Delusion
With writing there is no end in sight. It’s all about exploration and learning and discovery. But there’s nothing like the publishing industry to fool a writer into entertaining these familiar thoughts:
“I’ll be happy when…
I finish my novel
I get an agent
a house buys my book
I see my book in print
or my formatting is done for e-book
I meet my sales goals
I sell another book…”

& so the dance begins again.

Debilitating Doubt
I can’t. Therefore I won’t.

 On the flip side, Joy Planters are:

Commitment to write through the highs and lows.

A “I’ll write no matter what I feel” attitude that presents opportunities for you to learn far more about yourself during the process than at the outcome.

Because it always comes back to choice.
You have a choice in this. Freedom to keep at it or to chuck the whole thing.

As for me and my mouse (bad computer humor), we will surf the lore.

What have you found to be a joy stealer during your writing journey? And a joy planter?

*photo by stock.XCHNG


  1. Clever lady. :-) All the above for me!

  2. Love these. Suffering hugely from Distraction Deluge right now. A newborn will do that to ya!

    1. I'm not sure I was awake for about six years there. Ah, memories!

      We are getting ready for the big reno...should be interesting having all kinds of noises and traffic in the house.

  3. Replies
    1. Yep, this and jealousy. I figured they take up at least a post (if not a dozen) on their own. Good & worthy mention.

  4. These are so great, Wendy! Distraction Deluge. So much going on that I lack the amount of writing time I want. Frustrating!

    1. I'm finding I'm squeezing it in at the oddest times. I even (yikes...why) am waking up before the kids to fit it in. Must be love.

  5. i like as for me and my mouse we will surf the lore! love it - now thats a real joy planter!

    1. I had fun with that. ;-) Crazy what this mind comes up with.

  6. Working on turning my debilitating doubt into dedication and determination.

    I miss being able to read your weekly thoughts, btw. Reading this was like taking a nice big sip of ice water. Ahhh, okay, I feel better now. :)

    1. Glad I could offer a drink in my words. Miss you too, Sarah, but prioritizing is gold.

  7. Haha, I think I might be in the deadline drift one right now. :) But more often than not, it's doubt that trips me up. I love your joy planters, though! Those make all the difference!

  8. I think I've experienced all of these, Wendy. My joy planter is keeping the original vision for my story front and center.

    1. I love your joy planter & I've also found that helps tremendously. I'm thankful the writing process is life-giving for me...otherwise this is a crazy gig.

  9. "Somewhere along the way you mistakenly substituted love of craft for so many other seductive loves—approval, acceptance, validation, timing, attention, etc."

    these words just jumped out at me, Wendy! I think I'm walking through this right now in writing and faith. This quote also applies to seeking God (substitute the word craft for God). Wow.

    1. Those words just jumped right back at me too. ;-0 I always love how entwined writing and faith can be. Was just speaking to a dear friend today about how I believe I'm in this line of work in order to grow my faith.


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