Friday, November 4, 2011

My Favorite Thing About Writing

 Tuesday, November 1, 2011
"What is your favourite part about writing?"

This was the prompt for the first day of NaBloPoMo, but as I had already written a general post for Tuesday I didn't use it at that time. I was thinking more about the question though, and decided to go back to it today, as I came to a realization this week about what I love most about writing.

Except for the daily blogging, I didn't do much writing this week. In fact, I managed just one day of work on my WIP, Polar Night. I only wrote about 2,000 words, but the time I spent doing so brought me to this post.

In recent years, I've struggled a great deal with anxiety. This is primarily because of real life issues that are stressful to me, but in addition, I think it is just part of the way I'm wired. I'm prone to anxiety in the same way I'm prone to motion sickness and skin allergies.

At any rate, this week was a difficult one for me on this front. But as I looked back on the week today, I realized that the time I had spent writing had been the time that I could best banish the anxiety, and feel the most relaxed and content.

I've tried all kinds of things to deal with managing stress, and I have found that exercising regularly is a great help to me. But nothing works as well as writing, and somehow just sitting down with my laptop and putting words together helps me relax in a way nothing else does.

This realization reminded me of a passage from one of my favorite books, Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.

"Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. The thing you had to force yourself to do - the actual act of writing - turns out to be the best part. It's like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward."  ~ Bird by Bird, page xxvi

This was the case for me this week. While I didn't do a large amount of writing, what I did was indeed its own reward.

Writing is the best antidote for anxiety that I've ever found, and I don't know of a better way to take a break from the inevitable stress of the "real world" than by sitting down and simply writing.

I'm looking forward to a weekend of doing just that, and I know that even if I get stuck on a chapter or struggle to find just the right words, I will still feel the reward that comes from the act of writing itself.

That is my favorite thing about writing, and the reason I'm so glad I discovered, however late, the joy that it can bring.

Happy Friday to all, and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend ahead. :)


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I deal with my own version of anxiety on occasion, and I can really relate. Writing helps to take my attention away from my anxiety and lets me focus on something else. Plus I get the added bonus of accomplishing something! That always feels great.

  2. Julie, I so relate to this post. Writing is the thing that makes my world make sense to me, so I do not understand when I avoid doing the very thing that makes me feel better about me and my world. And I've been avoiding ever since I got home from my vacation. Thanks for sharing this. Happy writing this weekend.

  3. This really resonated with me! I too am prone to anxiety. I hide it well from a lot of people but as I've been told, I am secretly a "nervous nelly". Writing helps me manage stress too. When I am writing regularly, I am better able to handle the stressors in my life. I get really cranky if I'm not writing regularly!

  4. Really great post. I so identify with this. I joke around a lot that writers are crazy people (and mostly we are), but for myself, I'm never more sane than when I'm deep in that zone writing. I think sometimes we're lucky as writers because we're able to exorcise a lot of demons on the page, and that release is nothing but healthy as far as I'm concerned.

    Have a great weekend, Julie.

  5. A great post to read, thanks for sharing.


  6. I so identified with your post. Thanks for putting the thoughts together.

    Have a great weekend.

  7. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, too. I never thought about writing being relaxing, but at times it is for me, too.

  8. Well I'm glad they asked you and not me, I don't think I could have answered that question. But I do understand how, the real world just is a bite at times. :)

    Happy travels and HEY Clancy!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  9. Great post! It's good to realize what it is that makes writing so special to you. Who knows? Might even prompt you to take advantage of the "free therapy" more often. That's what it was for me when I was a teenager, anyway. Expressing angst on paper always helped mitigate it. Now that I'm (ahem) mature as heck, the angst and anxiety is long gone, and writing is purely a self-indulgent, joyful thing.

  10. Hi Julie! I found you through the 'awesome' Jules. I've had anxiety issues my entire life and feel the same way about writing and how it's helped me too in the 2 years since I 'finally' started. Best therapy and calming force there is for me.

    So glad that I found your blog. I can relate to you already! :-)

    Have a Beautiful weekend, Julie!!
    Coreen XO

  11. @ER, that's so true, the sense of accomplishment is something that is a huge bonus!

    @Karen, I can totally relate to what you are saying as I always feel good when writing, but then procrastinate and don't seem to do nearly enough of it. I am trying to kick that habit. Thanks and happy weekend to you as well!

    @Lisa, oh, I am a "nervous nelly" too, no doubt! And I've also been cranky lately so I am hoping to get over that with more writing.

    @LG, that's a good point, and I so agree about that release. Also agree about the crazy people LOL, I can't deny it. :D

    @Yvonne, thank you!

    @Giggles, thanks, I hope you have a great weekend too. :)

    @Carol, it's weird I never thought about it in the past either, but recently I've realized how true it is for me.

    @Jules, a bite is a good way to put it, no doubt. More and more I love my imaginary world LOL. Clancy says hey back! :)

    @Susan, that's a good point, I think it is free therapy too! LOL, I have been feeling old but am going to think of it as mature from now on. :D

    @Coreen, oh, how great to meet you, thanks so much! I can totally relate to you. And I agree, Jules is awesome! Thanks for coming by, and I am looking forward to checking out your site. :)

  12. the fact that you derive such joy from writing, coupled with the fact that you are so good at it, just makes it that much clearer that writing is your "life's calling!"

  13. Hi Julie .. losing yourself in your words as you write and develop your story - so pleased this helps you through and out the other side of anxiety .. Keep going and all the best - Hilary

  14. @Caren, oh, that's so nice of you to say, thanks so much! I really appreciate your comment, thanks.

    @Hilary, thank you, it really is a great release for me. Out the other side is a good way to put it. Thanks so much, all the best to you as well. :)


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