The Joy of Writing


A writer friend who is also doing the challenge of observing and writing down the details every day sent me this email,

‘It is quite  incredible the wandering paths my mind has taken just by writing in the moment like this.Today I have tapped a little into the joy of writing again.’

Apart from writing two beautifully formed sentences she’s touched on something that happens when you forget about writing as a means to an end and write for it’s own sake, when you write for the simple pleasure of writing.

Writing like this feels as if you’re holding a conversation with someone who is excited by the same things you are, who you can be yourself with, who you can tell anything to. Who won’t care if you end every sentence with an preposition. How could you not want to spend a lot of time with someone like that?

I’m learning this daily writing isn’t separate from my life; it is my life. It’s my life I’m writing about every time I put words on paper, and from those words come insights, connections and a new and clearer understanding of what I think and believe, who I am, and the world I live in.

This daily writing centres me in the moment, just like meditation. It’s one way into discovering the joy of writing again. So I was thrilled when my friend rediscovered that joy, but not surprised. It happened like that for me, too.

So this week’s task is to write for the sheer joy of it. I can hardly wait.



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18 Responses to The Joy of Writing

  1. jsladay says:

    Quiet inspiring ….

  2. margaret jackson says:

    A great post Karen. i believe everyone who tries the exercise will get something uniquely valuable to them. the more you do it the more you get out of it i think. Thank you for the ideas.

    • You’re very welcome, Marg. You’re right about the more you do it the more you get out of it. And the more you do it the more you want to do it. I saw a great quote by Jennifer Egan, ““Exercising is a good analogy for writing. If you’re used to not exercising you want to avoid it forever. If you’re used to it, it feels uncomfortable and strange not to.”

  3. margaret jackson says:

    PS – what a beautiful joyful baby.

  4. anne says:

    I love this piece, Karen. I’m delighted to hear you and others are enjoying it so much.

    I believe it’s the most authentic way to write and, as you say, it’s like talking to your best friend, or sometimes, for me, it’s like talking to God, that wondrous mysterious force that is the universe.

    You can lay on the page all your thoughts that you didn’t even know you were thinking or even knew you knew.

    As you’d probably know I kept diaries and journals for many decades. I actually threw them all out about eighteen months ago, much to the horror of my sister who loves Family History. But, my daily writing, observations, meditations, contemplations have nothing to do with Family History.

    My current one is almost indecipherable since my recent strokes. When the journal is full I’ll throw it, too, but this time not even the ants or slugs will be able to read it.

    These personal pages tap my conscious and unconscious selves and the intimate world around me.

    Over the years I’ve had some marvellous books to dip into from time to time. I’m sure you’ve heard of everyone of them but just in case some of you followers haven’t I’d like to recommend dipping into, from time to time:

    1) writing the story of your life Carmel Bird
    2) writing down the bones Natalie Goldberg
    3)The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron

    • Thank you for that wonderful response, Anne. I understand why you threw out the journals, although biographers will be horrified. If there’s a possibility of others reading this kind of free writing, immediately we start to censor it as it hits the page, and the whole purpose of the exercise (to tap into the subconscious) is made more difficult. My wise writer friend, Margaret Jackson, said she “puts the critic in the corner” when she does her free writing.

      Thank you for the recommendations of these books. I have them all and agree wholeheartedly with you.

      Recently a friend from my writing group bought back from the US a CD of Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron in conversation about writing. It’s called ‘The Writing Life’ and runs for
      2 1/2 hrs. It’s produced by Sounds True I’m on my third run through.

  5. anne says:

    Thanks for that recommendation, Karen. Will follow up.
    I agree with you and Margaret. Definitely no critics allowed until editing then they can creep in, look over the shoulder but should definitely hold their tongue, after all it’s our story, our voice.

  6. Free uninhibited writing is like being with the best non-judgemental friend, who just listens and nods and smiles approvingly. One who lets you pour out all the material that lies inside that you did not even know about.

  7. As usual, a well-written and inspirational post, Karen! My brain is a bit fried at the moment so I can’t think of anything wonderful to say, but I did enjoy your post, and am pleased to have found my own way back to daily writing, even if 2 minutes is all I manage before brain fog claws away my words. 😉 I hope you continue to enjoy your writing – and how you’re motivating others.

    • It’s always good to hear from you, Joanna! Even two minutes adds up over time and it keeps the hand in. I’m still enjoying the writing and had a lovely little win this week that adds to the enjoyment. A 200 word micro-lit story I wrote is being turned into a video by an artist to be screened at our Writers’ Festival in April. I can’t wait to see what he does with it. Now that’s exciting!

  8. anne says:

    Congratulations, Karen. You never know it might make the SydneyFilm Festival next year. I’ll get my chair ready.

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