Camp Tips #13 – Sparking Joy


Sometime last year, I was cleaning up my messy disorganized room, again, yearning for the day when my room could be clutter free, and clean all the time without having to spend hours reorganizing it every so often. I learned around that time about a book called the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I watched some YouTube videos, and thought maybe next year when I move, I’ll do that. Then, I realized that waiting to do what I want’ makes no sense. So, I bought the book, and immediately started the process in the book referred to as the Konmari method.  It basically helps you find the best way to declutter and get rid of items that don’t spark joy. That is a weird thing to think about with inanimate objects, and yet it really worked. Why did this work? Because whether it was  neat shirt, or a fun pencil holder, or my favorite books, the things I kept were things I was actually happy to have. So often, people hang on to items that they really don’t need, they don’t want, and it only keeps them from having and cherishing the things they do.


Does it give you joy?

You might be wondering how this applies to writing, don’t worry, I’m getting to that right now. Just like the Konmari Method suggest, the things we keep should bring us joy, and this is true in your writing as well. With writing, there is so much information out there about how you should write a book, what to do, what not to do, what’s cliche, and what’s supersaturated, and overdone. There is a lot of noise. The tips and tricks on writing you’ve learned about should bring you joy, and the rest you should discard. Furthermore, the things you write should also bring you joy. If you are writing a scene or a chapter because you think you need it, or everyone says it should be there, what you need to do is ask if it’s bringing you joy. If it’s not, maybe there is a specific part of it you don’t like, or maybe its the method in which you are writing that portion that you’re not liking. If so, maybe just throw out the rules that are constraining you or making this portion feel like a chore. Writing isn’t always easy, but it should be bringing you joy. Maybe not every time you write, maybe not everything that you write, but there should be some joy.


How to know. 

If your story is bringing you joy, you should be happy when you think of it in general. It should randomly pop into your mind. When you sit down to write, and maybe not every time, I’ve come back to some writer’s block inducing scenes that just leave me groaning, but most the time when I sit down to write, there’s a bit of a thrill, an flutter of happiness, like seeing a friend after a long absence, or meeting a fun and exciting person for the first time. Sometimes, we lose what we love about our stories. That can happen for many reasons. Maybe we are at a hard part, or maybe we have led our characters astray, or maybe we have forgotten why we loved the story. In times like these, what I recommend is step back a bit, find a part in the story that you adored, and reread that. Rediscover the thrill again, and see if that thrill is lost or just hiding and try to find a way to inject a bit of that thrill back in if you can. If not, find out where and why it’s disappeared and see if it’s something you can eventually get back to. As always, keep writing, and do so with joy.

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