Simple joys for writer girls and boys

by Julie Frayn on April 30, 2012 in  Writing

It doesn’t take much to make a writer happy. Little things can bring a rush of joy.

Freshly trimmed fingernails. When those babies get too long, all the wrong keys get hit. Not that I don’t have enough problems with long fingers and an inherent klutziness – add a few millimeters of dead cell length to that and it’s a literary dog’s breakfast of misspelled words, transposed letters, and gibberish. Mumbo jumbo. Clap trap. Twaddle. Oh, sorry – got carried away by all the fun words. So give me nicely trimmed nails and I type like a pro, with renewed energy and spirit. My wpm amps up two fold, maybe three. Maybe that’s all in my mind but whatever, still joyful.

Blog comments. I admit it, I am a comment whore. Legitimate comments (those with no links to penis-spam) fuel the blogging fire. The daily hit counts are pretty cool too (my all time high is 203 for one day), but it’s the comments that count. So please, satisfy my deep desire for meaningful comment. Come on, comment my brains out. Who knew my self-esteem would be tied to what complete strangers had to say? All right, who’s laughing?

Coffee. Or tea. Any caffeinated beverage really. Except red bull. Or cola. Or Mountain Dew. OK, any hot caffeinated beverage. Well, iced soy caramel macchiato too. Or lemon iced tea. And red wine. What? Not caffeinated? Have you never heard of Café Culture?

Words. The written kind. More than one on any given day is good. Volume is satisfying (yes, you read that right, size does matter). I know that editing is critical, and I do love that part, but it feels less like forward movement and more like putting on makeup. You already have the face, now you have to spend a lot of time improving on it before you let complete strangers take a peek. Hmm, strangers and self-esteem again. I see a disturbing pattern.

Feedback. I know what you writers are thinking. Is she nuts? Feedback sucks! People are mean. Yes, it’s true, those who critique can be downright critical. But that is the only way to improve, the only way to be sure the story makes sense to anyone other than you. And while you understanding what you meant to say is all well and good, you can’t sell a million copies of your own book to you. Well you can. But that would be stupid.

So my writer friends (and strangers too), what are your simple joys? For writing I mean. Keep the rest to yourself, please. This is an innuendo free blog. All right, who’s laughing again?


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

mj monaghan April 30, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Simple joys:
– When words have a nice flow.
– Pictures/visuals matching the content. Always helpful.
– Okay, I love blog comments as well. Something about getting a response that just gets me fired up.
– Reading good stuff by other blogger/writers.

Loved the post, Julie!


Julie April 30, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Thanks, Michael! All good additions, and thanks for the comment-empathy. Also loving good stuff by other writers and bloggers. Happy to have met so many – you included. :)

Megan@MondayMorningMusings April 30, 2012 at 11:21 pm

But, but, I was laughing with you…Okay, sorry, I won’t do it again.

I agree with all the above. I would add time, to complete the list. A little extra time makes me positively giddy. I would gladly drop all my balls and hang my juggler’s hat for good and do nothing but drink coffee while clickety-clacketing away, if I didn’t need to, you know, eat. And send the kid to school. And cover her with clothing. Those pesky necessities! Until such time as they should start taking care of themselves, I’ll take the extra time, thankyouverymuch.


Julie May 1, 2012 at 8:07 am

Time! Of course. Mind you, this list could be pages long, but had to stop somewhere. Comfortable chair. Functioning computer. Kick ass internet connection. And kick ass tunes too… 😀

Julie May 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Oh, and you can laugh at, or with, me anytime. 😀 I love that part the most…

Jo Anne May 1, 2012 at 5:14 am

Enjoyed this one. And the joys you list. With Megan, I would add time, and my children are already taking care of themselves, and I’m retired, and I still don’t have enough time! I’d also add some nice, classical music in the background – soft enough and sweet enough to calm but not to distract.


Julie May 1, 2012 at 8:10 am

My kids are grown too, though not too much, still at home with me (yay!). I almost have them trained to be self-sufficient. Almost. My biggest time suck from writing (aside from a Twitter addiction I am trying to control) is work! Have to get to that day job or I’d have no house in which to write. Speaking of that, I have to get out of here. Thanks for fulfilling my comment needs!

Mikalee Byerman May 1, 2012 at 10:29 am

Innuendo-free…and yet you reference penis spam?

Never mind. You’re right: That’s not innuendo, considering that’s about as overt as it gets. But even the penis spam comments get my heart racing…


Writer simple joys:
–thinking up a word that’s not a word and then finding the perfect place to use it appropriately (some would call this “making up words,” but I look at it as doing my public service to fill a void).
–when my kids read something I write (the clean, non-expletive-or-penis-reference-filled variety) and smile or laugh.
–dreaming about cooking elaborate meals in my multi-million-dollar dream kitchen with my hunky hot boyfriend and kids…after I make my first fortune on my first book.

Great post, Julie! :)


Julie May 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Me and my kids make up words all the time. Great ones, though Webster might disagree. I also love when my kids enjoy what I write. Especially when it is the non-clean kind, and good to know I can still embarrass them even when they’re adults! “Mom, when you wrote ‘the only instrument I’ve ever mastered,’ did you mean…?!?” Uh, yes, yes I did.

Jim (aka The Wordslinger) May 1, 2012 at 10:54 am

Now that I’ve stopped laughing over “comment my brains out.”, I’ll throw in my two cents.

-One really good sentence that you know won’t get edited down (kind of like that one good golf shot among the 100 crappy ones that brings you back for another round).

-Getting a comment via an email from a reader. All comments are great, but sometimes someone takes the additional 4 seconds to click my contact page and send me a personal email telling me something they enjoyed about my page.

-Being mentioned by other bloggers that I consider freakin’ awesome.

Those are just a few…oh, and of course, reading your posts!


Julie May 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Aw, thanks! I am a fan of your posts too… :) I’ve not had the pleasure of an email from a reader as yet. My ‘contact me’ parts are barren and untouched. But I’m okay with that. For now…. Send me one of your good golf shot sentences!

Leanne Shirtliffe May 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Writing a sentence that surprises me.
When my writing takes me somewhere I didn’t anticipate.
The sound of my typing.
Chai tea latte.


Julie May 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Yes, yes, yes… 😉 I love the sound of the keyboard too. And the feel. I have an older one that really clacks – don’t think I could ever go to the touch pad on-screen version. Blech.

Tonya Moore May 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I generally have two writing modes. The first mode is when I’m writing according to plot and I have to consciously construct sentences in my head and really think about what I’m “putting to paper”as it were.

I love those those other times, when the words just gush forth and it feels like I’m pretty much just along for the ride. My writing joy comes afterward when I go back to read what I’ve written-the result of simply letting go and letting the words flow.


Julie May 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Thanks for reading and feeding my comment craving, Tonya. I love the gushing kind of writing too. I call it ‘word vomit’ – there’s a post somewhere in here about that too!

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