Do you enjoy writing—or do you struggle, more often than you’d like?
How often do you enjoy writing?
Perhaps writing is a constant struggle. Many writers struggle, and I did too, for many years. I read everything I could on creativity and how to develop it.
Maybe one day I could enjoy writing… I hoped. For many years, nothing worked, because I thought emotions just happened. I couldn’t control them, could I?
Enjoy writing: three steps to conquer unpleasant emotions and find enjoyment
This process helps you to enjoy writing, consistently. You’ll become more productive, effortlessly. One of my clients, Liz, says her confidence increased. “I used to be nervous with clients. Now I speak up and ask questions.”
Be aware that this process may not happen instantly—although for some writers it does. Everything depends on how quickly you can become familiar with your emotions. When you recognize the instant that your emotions shift, you’re on your way.
Let’s look at the steps.
1. Identify emotional shifts: that’s the first step to enjoy writing
One day, when I was still living in Sydney, I was out with my little terrier, Honey, for our daily walk. I suddenly felt an emotional and mental shift. I’d been mentally whining, complaining to myself about something or other.
Complain, complain, irritation… Then, sudden enjoyment. Happiness.
I became aware of two rainbow lorikeets. They were trailing us, darting from one tree to another. We stopped and watched the little parrots for a moment. They perched on a tree branch, quite close—less than ten feet away. One tilted his head at us, and chirped. Then the other chirped. Why were they trying to attract our attention? Honey glanced at me; she was as puzzled as I was. The lorikeets made me smile. I smelled the soft scent of jasmine on the air; felt the warmth of the sun…
How had that happened? A sudden shift, and irritation turned to happiness.
I began to wonder: could I create an emotional shift from unpleasantness to happiness, so I could enjoy writing more often?
In brief, this is your first step: recognize unpleasant emotions. Then, try to recognize when your emotions shift.
To do this, you need to pay (brief) attention to your emotional states.
2. Pay attention to emotional states: what do you experience when you enjoy writing?
Once I starting paying attention to emotional states, I began to recognize them. I recognized emotional states for many different tasks—for cooking, for example. I also identified pleasant, productive emotional states for various forms of writing—writing fiction, and nonfiction too.
The good emotional states for writing all included:
- Contentment: enjoyment of the writing process;
- Intense interest, as when you’re intrigued by your task, whatever it is;
- A sense of timelessness, without pressure to complete a task.
The next time you’re in the middle of a session of writing, and you’re enjoying it, stop for an instant.
Allow yourself to feel the feeling: recognize it.
Once you recognize when you enjoy writing, you can enjoy this feeling more often. Firstly however, you need to stop struggling.
3. Ignore negative emotions: focus on things you enjoy
It’s tempting to struggle, and push away negative emotions. But you can’t enjoy writing if you’re focused on a negative emotion. When you’re feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, or experience some other negative emotion, let it be. Avoid trying to stop feeling what you’re feeling.
You can’t battle negative emotions. If you try, the emotion will persist. Instead, get up and move around. Movement seems to help emotions to shift. If you have time, go for a walk. If not, swing your arms and walk around for a minute or two.
Think about things you enjoy. Do you enjoy pizza? Shopping? A sport?
There you go: when you recognize enjoyment, and avoid struggles, you’re well on the way to enjoying all your writing.
You CAN enjoy writing: soon you’ll enjoy writing no matter what’s happening in your life
When I’ve discussed writing’s emotional states with writers, they’ve become aware of them too. It may take time for you. If it does, that’s OK. Sooner or later, your ability to recognize emotional states will happen, because you’re ready.
Once you recognize a state’s feeling, you can court that feeling state: then you’ll begin experiencing it more often. You don’t need to do anything special to “court” a state. Just be aware of the state and enjoy it when it happens.
Start by paying attention to how you feel when you’re writing something, and the writing’s going well. Try to recall that specific feeling later.
Before too long, you’ll become aware of moments when you enjoy writing. When that happens, negative emotions around writing will fade away.
Your books aren't selling. You've done everything right, but you may have missed an essential element of bestselling fiction...
That element is suspense.More info →
Creativity is essential for writers.
In this book release your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams.More info →
You CAN write. It doesn’t matter why you think you can’t. You can write, and writing will become easy for you.
More info →
If you think you can't outline, you're wrong. You can create wonderful outlines which work for you: write more, and publish more.
More info →
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.