Tag Archives: Joy

Leaving The Joy Out of Writing

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dog coutureWriting is not always fun.  There are times when it’s downright taxing.  Various authors have compared the process to cutting veins and bleeding onto the page.  Certainly everyone has had the feeling of being discouraged, of thinking that the words are flappy, the sentiments trite, the whole thing a complete waste of time.  Many writers get so stuck in the morass that they can’t get our, and so they write word after every begrudging word with any joy at all.

Often this happens when a writer gets stuck on one particular story.  I have often seen it happen that a writer will carry around a story for a decade.  He will work on nothing else.  He is going to finish it if it kills him.  He submits the same story over and over and over again to be critiqued.  Although I suggest politely that he move on and write something else he can’t.  He has to tell this story. But now he hates it, and quite honestly, I hate it.  I’ve critiqued the character, the plot, and the dialogue.

I suspect this is even more likely to happen to novelists than to short-story writers, because we’re more likely to put big chunks of time into a novel.  Certainly it’s harder to walk away from something you’ve spent four years working on.  That was how long I worked on my novel, Courting Disaster.  It was the story of a woman who gets engaged 17 times and then falls in love with a man named Chuck Jones.  My novel was a finalist for a number of prestigious literary awards, got a lot of agent and editorial attention, but after four years of writing, rewriting and submitting, no one wanted it.  I was depressed, to put it mildly I was also discouraged at the prospect of having to write a whole new book.

But I did.  I wrote a book about a woman who teaches a fiction class, and I began to feel something I hadn’t felt n a while: excitement.  At one point, as I was trying to figure out who the students were in the writing class, I realized that my old friend Chuck Jones, would be perfect.  I had been obsessed by this character, and I was delighted to move him over to my new novel.  The Fiction Class was, in fact, published by Plume, a division of Penguin.  Often when I’m at book clubs, people will come up to me and tell me how much they like Chuck jones, and I always feel like that’s a tribute to the beleaguered part of me that struggled so hard to get a foothold in this business.

Don’t be afraid to start something new, if this is what you need to keep going.  Start a new story.  Take what you’ve learned and apply it somewhere else. But don’t give up the joy that brought you into this insane profession in the first place.

<div style=”font-size: 8px;”>Original by Susan Breen</div>

Joy Can Be Yours In 7 Steps

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joy3This is an article by Chris Widener that I found very inspirational. It is seven steps you can take to feel joy in your life.

7 Keys for Joyful Living

Here are some thoughts for finding and experiencing joy in your life. If there were one thing I could wish upon my family, friends and the readers of this article, it would be joy in everything they do!
1. Know your purpose. Nothing will bring you joy more than knowing what it is that you are about on this earth. Not knowing brings sadness, wondering, fear and lack of fulfillment. Above all, find out what your unique purpose is here on this earth—then fulfill it. As you do, you will experience joy.

2. Live purposefully. This is a follow up to number one. It is one thing to know your purpose, but then you need to live according to that purpose. This is a matter of priorities. Let your actions and schedule reflect your purpose. Don’t react to circumstances and let them cause you to live without your purpose fully in sight. Living without your purpose will cause frustration. Living purposefully will bring you deep satisfaction and joy.

3. Stretch yourself. Don’t settle into the status quo. That will leave you unfulfilled. Always look to stretch yourself. Whatever you are doing, stretch yourself to do more. Stretching yourself will break the limits you have set for yourself and will cause you to find joy in your expanded horizons.
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4. Give more than you take. It brings happiness to accumulate. It brings joy to give away. Sure, getting the car you worked hard for will bring you a sense of satisfaction and even happiness. But it won’t bring you joy. Giving something away to the less fortunate will bring you deep, abiding joy.

5. Surprise yourself and others too. The words here are spontaneity and surprise. Every once in a while, do the unexpected. It will cause everybody to sit back and say, “Wow, where did that come from?” It will put a little joy in your life, and theirs.

6. Indulge yourself sometimes. Too much indulgence and you are caught in the happiness trap—looking for the next purchase, celebration, etc., to bring you a little “happiness high.” But if you will allow yourself an infrequent indulgence as a reward for a job well done and a life well lived, you will appreciate the indulgence and experience the joy of it.joy

7. Laugh a little—no, a lot! Most people are just too serious. Learn to laugh daily, even if you have to learn to laugh in bad situations. This life is to be enjoyed. The next time you go to the movie rental store, get a comedy and let loose. Let yourself laugh!

Joy can be yours. Look for it, pursue it and enjoy it!

Pets

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The Dogs of Babel

Image via Wikipedia

I received this from a friend of mine this morning and I had not read it before so I thought I would share it with my blog friends.  I’m a dog lover from start to finish but it has caused me to experience rolled eyes from some of my family and friends.  I have four dogs, Andy is a thirty-five# Cocker, Booker, four  pounds of pure energy, Eddy is 15 pounds of laid back love and then there is Angel who is a five-pound poodle princess and knows it.  They have trained me well. I sometimes feel as if I have a houseful of three-year olds.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I receive much more from them than I can give.

How do you feel about your pets?  Does it bother you if someone won’t come to your house because you have dogs?  Let me know.  I’m interested to know your thoughts on the subject.

The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door: Dear Dogs and Cats:  The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food.  The other dishes are mine and contain my food.  Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest. The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack.  Racing me to the bottom is not the object.  Tripping me doesn’t help because I fall faster than you can run. I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed.  I am very sorry about this.  Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however.  Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep.  It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible.  I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm. For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door.  I must exit through the same door I entered.  Also, I have been using the bathroom for years – canine/feline attendance is not required. The proper order for kissing is:  Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog’s or cat’s butt.  I cannot stress this enough. Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:

TO ALL NON-PET OWNERS WHO VISIT AND LIKE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PETS: (1)  They live here.  You don’t. 

(2)  If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.  That’s why they call it ‘fur’-niture. 

(3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people. 

(4)  To you, they are animals..  To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don’t speak clearly. Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

(1) eat less,

(2) don’t ask for money all the time,

(3) are easier to train,

(4) normally come when called,

(5) never ask to drive the car,

(6) don’t hang out with drug-using people;

(7) don’t smoke or drink,

(8) don’t want to wear your clothes,

(9) don’t have to buy the latest fashions,

(10) don’t need a gazillion dollars for college and

(11) if they get pregnant, you can sell their c

Unhappiness or Joy?

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When I was a young girl (more or less), I watched the Ray Bradbury Theatre on television.  I can’t tell you what one of those shows was about but, I can tell you I watched every week.  Something must have been stirring inside me at that time about writing.  It is a shame  it took thirty years for it to really activate, and for me to appreciate the skill of good writers.   I know if I had started writing back then I would be ranked with the greats by now (My arm is now broke from patting myself on the back. I’ll put it in a cast later).

Watching a video of Ray Bradbary, when he was eighty-six years old prompted me to write this blog.  He said he could not have imagined when he was a young boy, he would live to be eighty-six.  He writes consistently and constantly.  His advice to writers: “Don”t write if you are unhappy.”  I can see his point, if we are so miserable in our world, how can we write a book.  Wouldn’t the book try to drag everyone  reading it down to that level?  I also think writing could not show anything positive, such as love, friendship, kindness, ect.  Make your life full of good feelings.  As we all know those bad ones come around all to frequently.

I enjoy writing and I never thought I would say those words.  I remember all of the papers I had to write in college that was painful to do.  I guess there is something to be said about writing what I want instead of what I have to write.  When I no longer have the joy, I will stop writing.  Until that time, I plan on writing daily as I have been, whether on my book or my blog.  That’s my two-cents for today.