The past month or so has been pretty crazy around the world. You all know what I’m talking about, and I’m going to leave it at that. I am a teacher and have been google classrooming from home. Every day my facebook feed is full of the trials and tribulations of everything being closed. It is also full of people who are overly positive about the whole situation. Honestly, I fall somewhere in the middle.
I’ve been writing almost everyday. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. I wonder if I’m using my time at home effectively. A poem by Emma Zeck beckons me:
I have to remind myself daily that what I am doing is enough. And although there have been some – really big – struggles along the way, there is joy in all of this too.
A friend of mine suggested that I check out Rachel Hollis and her lifestyle blog. One of her posts is about making a JOY LIST. These are things that make you happy even if they don’t make sense to other people. Like a perfect cup of coffee, or watching the first flowers of Spring emerge from the ground.
So here is my JOY LIST
FINISHING MY NOVEL
I find JOY in finishing my middle grade lgbtq novel, one page at a time. I pantsed this one folks, so it’s taking longer than I would have wanted, but there is definitely joy in any progress made because it is a story that I adore. I’ve also come up with a new title as well.
ZOOMING WITH MY CRITIQUE GROUP
I find JOY in meeting up with my monthly critique group – even if it’s by Zoom. We had an amazingly productive meeting this week. We were all remote but the camaraderie, the respect, the love of writing still comes through.
WRITING A SCREENPLAY
Because why not? Trying something new always give me JOY. A small film company put out a call for thirty minute screenplays for a staged reading on Zoom with hired actors. I had an old play that I hadn’t looked at in a long time, so I adapted it for a screenplay. The characters needed modifying and the plot needed a lot of thickening, but I did it. Even if I don’t get picked to participate, I found joy in an old piece of writing.
WRITING A NEW SONG FOR MY MUSICAL
If you have been following my posts, you will know that I am writing a musical for my students based on Jack and the Beanstalk. I find great JOY in writing a lyric and then finding the music that flows with it. There is also joy when I post it for my students to preview, and I see that they’ve listened to some of the other songs on the album 95 times!
There are some days where I just don’t feel like writing. And that’s okay too! There is JOY in the pause of writing.
Where do you find your JOY? Feel free to share with the Writers’ Rumpus!
Alison, you have a pretty cool post here that’s also very inspirational! Excellent strategies for dealing with the daily struggle of living with the unknowns. Emma’s poem is a story of what you are doing with your terrific range of work. You have conquered this thing!
Alison, I love this post and I need to make my own Joy List stat! Things can definitely be overwhelming lately, so reminders like these help me keep my perspective 🙂 I love the idea of working on something new like a screenplay. I have had this idea kicking around in my head for 12+ years but have been too focused on novels to even give it a shot…but I found a free online course offered from Michigan State University via Coursera (called “Write A Feature Length Screenplay For Film Or Television” if anyone is interested!) that I might experiment with while I have a little…uh…extra time. Thanks for the post!
Alison, I love this post. Right now I think I need to take my novels I am writing, put them in the washing machine and spin them around. Then pull out the garments one by one to see what is the best way to do this. I dread this. But I know how important a positive attitude is. Sometimes when I dread cleaning the bathrooms, I say to myself, “How great! I get to clean the bathrooms today!” And it really works; I have more fun when I am cleaning the bathrooms. So maybe I can do this before I write, too.
I love that Emma Zeck poem and your Joy List is perfect. Best of luck with all your creative pursuits–you’re so talented. We must have both taken a screenshot of our meeting at almost the same time, only a few people moved or changed expressions between the two (mine’s posted, too). It was a great meeting!
It was wonderful to meet with everyone last week. Alison, I like the idea of reframing from “chore” to “joy.” I admit that I haven’t written a word since this whole thing began (other than the very different writing I do for work). Haven’t submitted to my online critique group, don’t want to watch webinars, even have to push myself to critique–although once it gets started, it’s a welcome deep distraction to dig into reviewing others’ work. Perhaps I just need to push myself to write, as well, and the joy and distraction will follow.
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Thanks for writing this Alison. After our zoom meeting I was full of enthusiasm to get stuck back into re-writing my first chapter. But I think I was approaching it a bit like a “must do chore” instead of something I love. Your blog has reminded me to enjoy the process and remember its the journey that counts not just the end goal.
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Thanks for making us think about our joys. I’m making a list today.
Ohhh! I’ve been doing the next 90 days challenge with Rachel Hollis and already wrote my joy list! What a great post. Perfect for these days!
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Rachel Hollis has a pretty cool blog. Very inspirational!