Write for the joy of it baby!

We chose it. We want it. We can’t be doing without it. We wake up in the night or early in the morning with ideas spinning. We pace like tigers when kept from it by normal life. We do it.

And on days when all our stars are in alignment, when the keys to our subconscious have been turned, our fingers fly on the keyboard or our pencil scratchings make a frantic rhythm on paper, when we are surprised by ourselves, by the marvel of the humanity we write about, it is a wonderful, a joyful thing.

There’s so much talk now of being published, of rejections, submissions, of word count, of writer’s block and muses doing a runner, of not being able to find the space, the place, the time, the rhyme, the reason, it being the wrong season.

I wrote lately on my blog for Writing.ie about finding the book that YOU want to write, about finding the things that fire you up, that you gather and adore, that make you hot under the collar, of finding the hot coil in the furnace of the way YOU see the world and brandishing it, making your marks on the page, your brand (not the marketing one!) on the skin of our culture.

Write for the joy of it, for yourself firstly, then for a reader, someone intimate your book will sit close with later, you will tell them the way you see the world, humanity and they may sit head bent close to yours, to your book and understand or see something new or different they had never thought of before. Or you may reflect something back to them that is dear and intrinsic and spark of the joy of recognition in them.

Whether it’s Marc Nash‘s feats of erudition and word love, or Penny Goring’s unparalleled linguistic gymnastics, or the sparkling characterizations and life in a moment of Tania Hershman, Claire King, Martha Williams, A.J Ashworth, or the lovingly crafted slices of humanity of Rebecca Emin, Jane Rusbridge, DJ Young or the startlingly slightly surreal and fabulous creations of Rachel Carter, Kirsty Logan and Elizabeth Baines; these writers demonstrate to me through their work, and by presenting it to us in such a marvellous manner, the intrinsic joy of language, of creativity, of humanity and the world itself.

Like you all I get fed up of it. Sometimes writing is like the holy grail. To get to it at all, I need to negotiate the jungle of domestic life, climb mountains of tiredness and self-defeat.  But I want to remember the moments when a idea flashes, when a juxtaposition of words seems just right, (like when I came up with the title Origami Flamingos for one of my flashes!) when a story makes sense, the accumulated moments later when it lives and lingers and means something to others. I don’t know what else to say. We must stop sometimes and try to remember the spark, why we cannot walk away.

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18 comments

  1. I came to visit your blog as I do every time my email informs me you have posted. What a wonderful post, and what a lovely surprise to see my name mentioned in it, thank you so very much.

    Thank you for being such a wonderful source of inspiration. Whenever I feel like I’m struggling, I visit your blog.

  2. yep, needed this booster ;^)

    super post reminding us to write as we write, not for the market or expectations. because when the passion shines through, that’s when folks will take notice. peace…

  3. Your words have no less fulgurant conflagrations within the blue heat of your forge Alison than any of us others you so kindly mentioned. Me, I never get fed up with it. If ever the outside intrudes and demands its mulct, I pay up sure in the knowledge I am counting down time when I can sneak back out re-enter the fray. Words ultimately demand a heavier, if more diffused investment

  4. Alison, that’s so absolutely lovely, I think I will quote it to all the participants on the Arvon course next week. So so important to remember that… writing flash helps me with the joy and the spark. What an honour to be mentioned in such amazing company, thank you!

  5. What a great piece! It helped to remind me that although I would like to write something an audience enjoys, I also write because I love it and love getting the stories down. It’s such a wonderful feeling when you are writing a story and discovering it at the same time. Your blog has been such an inspiration to me and I’ve even started writing flash fiction since I read about it here. I look forward to the next time I receive an email with one of your posts!

  6. If this is a response to certain comments floating around the internet about writing at the moment, I couldn’t agree more, Alison. And do you know what? Commitment is intense but brings you more joy even though the work can be frustrating sometimes. When you’re committed you don’t have to worry whether or not you’re enjoying it all the time, because there’s a deeper joy.

    When I don’t want to commit any more – then I’ll move on without a backward glance. I’ll do something else. I don’t believe that one’s art should be a “staying together for the children” sort of act. I won’t get congealed and bitter about it and let my work suffer. I’ll move on.

  7. What a wonderful post, Alison. That’s exactly the write attitude.
    As for wordcounts and rejections and so on…one of my favourite quotes of all time is “Joy is not in things, it is in us.”
    Thank you xx

  8. I can’t just write for what I love, for one large thing I love is to inspire it in others. I’m very preoccupied with my affects on readers and hope the intimacy wins out.

  9. I love the energy in this post — an especially thoughtful touch given that we’re in the throes of school hols with those mountains of tiredness, and laundry! Thanks for the mention, too — wonderful company.
    Hope you’re managing to enjoy the summer and fit in a few words. (I just got back from a family road trip so hope to catch up a bit more on Twitter now.)

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