It’s okay for writing to feel easy.
When you make pleasure and reward part of your writing process, it helps you make writing a habit.
Reaching toward something that serves you, nourishes you, or delights you has a positive effect on your nervous system. This is powerful when you want to create a lasting practice that becomes an unconscious habit.
I use the words “fun” and “easy” on purpose, because it can be so confronting to contrast these words with “my work”— even (especially?) creative work.
Fun is something our puritanical society sees as silly or unproductive. And if something feels easy, all too often we give it less value. I want to live in a world that values ease, and I want to feel relaxed when I am creating.
Okay, but what if you’re writing a memoir about grief? What if you’re writing a satire about the rampant misogyny in your office?
The word “fun” might not ring true for you. You might prefer to orient toward a word like “love” or “truth” or even “joy” — all of these states can coexist with grief, anger, and confusion.
The key is to reach toward something in your process that serves you, nourishes you, and delights you.
Let your writing give you relief and pleasure.
When we write to get away from something painful (instead of reaching toward what we love), it’s more difficult to build consistency in our practice.
Writers often experience “fight or flight” (ie, rushing to meet deadlines, trying to impress editors, etc.) or “freeze” (writer’s block). These dysregulated states have been glorified in the myths we’ve been told about writers and their work.
I think of writing as a relationship. You learn how to trust each other by spending quality time together. What if writing was a dear friend? You could laugh with her, cry with her, get angry, feel confused. Reaching out towards her is a way you get to enjoy life.
Doesn’t being with a good friend feel… easy?
I believe in pleasure, delight, and rest. That’s why I want to remind you to let your writing feel easy. Focus on the good feelings when you are writing, savour them in your body, and do this on purpose.
You will find yourself reaching for your notebook out of joy, not because you’ve disciplined yourself to meet a tough page count challenge, or to “keep your butt in the chair.”
Photo credit: Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash.