Key Ways to Rediscover your Writing “Fun Mojo”

Jordan Dane
@JordanDane

Alert the Media. Writing is hard. From the moment I knew I wanted to write a novel, I’ve poured long hours into learning about the industry and the craft of writing. I spent hours in front of a computer, even with my full time draining job. Weekends were spent trying to sneak in hours to write. When I wasn’t writing, I thought of writing. I’ve read countless books in many genres, networked at writer conferences, entered national writing competitions, and suffered through the agony of rejection as many of us have.

When I first started out, I had nothing to lose. Rejections were expected. Some were even comical. I had a rejection ritual that involved mystical incantations and a shredder. Remember when you used the words – “It was a better rejection” – and knew what that meant? It’s not easy putting yourself out there and as the months and years went by–with rejections & expenses piling up with nothing to show for it–it wore me down. When I had hit that point, I asked myself a very real question.

Would I still write if I never sold?

I thought about it and eventually said it aloud. “YES!” It was if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I found that I cared less about rejections. They became opportunities toward my goal. I also didn’t feel the need to follow a trend. Hell, I WAS the trend. As an avid reader myself, if I wrote the kind of book I wanted to read, then I WAS the market. Editors and agents are industry professionals, but so was I. My time had value. Most of all, I had found a passion that I’d longed for my entire life and I was living my dream. That was good enough.

That’s when I sold. (Link to my FIRST SALE story.)

For my post today, I wanted to think back upon that time when everything had possibility and dig into what makes writing fun for me, still. I hope you’ll share what brings joy to you in your comments.

KEY WAYS TO REDISCOVER YOUR WRITING FUN MOJO

1.) Writers Notice Stuff

You may not be aware of this, but after honing the craft of writing, writers become more observant. We look at a setting location and wonder – How I would write this? Or how I would I describe the “feeling” of this place? Writers notice more in news stories, for example. We see the possibility of a story behind the story. A tragedy may be reported in the news–the journalistic facts of who, what, when, where, why–but writers’ minds go beyond the news. We want to know how the story would affect the people experiencing it. We want to know what the reporters might’ve missed. Where are the human stories behind an event? We want to make it personal. Our empathetic minds go there. We see things differently and hone our imaginations into becoming more compassionate human beings.

2.) Writers Tap Into Deep Emotions

When most people suppress their emotions, we want to live them–even if it’s hard. We write from the heart or we write from our worst fears. And it’s not just the word choices we make. It’s what we create that can trigger emotions and experiences in our readers and ourselves. Writing is not just about the craft of it. It’s about how it makes us feel to do it, no matter what level we are in skills.

3.) Writers Know Passion

How many people know true passion? Most people can live a lifetime and not know the passion we experience every day that we write. It’s a solitary exploration that satisfies us. It’s something we can do every day & it doesn’t feel like a job. Even if we’re not sitting at our desks or cranking on our laptops, we can fill our minds and our creative juices with the world we are creating and the plot or the characters we’re developing. We sometimes work through our book issues in our sleep. That’s sheer joy few people know. It’s special and extraordinary.

4.) Writers are Curious and Brain Thirsty

Writers are curious, driven people. We want to know and understand stuff. Research unleashes our inquisitive minds and broadens our writing experiences. Have you ever found yourself so sucked into your research, that you noticed you’d drifted into topics you hadn’t planned on writing about? Your mind drew you into the research and you kept going? The things is, you never know where you might use good info. Your research curiosity may pay off for the next book. Your mind is a sponge. It’s like living another life & filling your brain with ideas for use later.

5.) Writers Experience Books Differently

For good or bad, writers experience more as readers. It’s lovely when you can read a book and get lost in the story, but let’s face it. Many times we see behind the craft and truly appreciate what the author has created–or we hate it–but either way, we experience a book more deeply. Where most observant readers might notice a typo, authors might appreciate a clever turn of phrase or understand what it takes to create a complex character. A well developed plot twist is gold and we can break it down, not just let it happen. We’re insiders to an amazing process.

6.) Writers Don’t Have to be Original

We just have to write the best book we know how. Don’t worry about whether anyone has ever written about a certain plot before. No one can duplicate how you choose to tell a story. No one can filter their storytelling through your unique eyes and life’s experiences. Yes, it’s great to discover a fresh take on something and we should all strive to push the envelope to writing with new ideas, but there’s something deeply satisfying about telling a story that touches a reader in a special way, that only YOU can do.

7.) Writing is Therapy

When bad stuff happens to writers in their lives, we have a way to explore it through our writing. We can distance the pain from our own stories by telling what happened through our characters. Writing is about emotion. It’s a gift to tell your story and tap into feelings that readers can relate to. It’s one thing to be compassionate and empathetic when we imagine what a character might be feeling, but to add a personal reflection (even when it’s painful), takes guts. Dare to be gutsy and you may find it helps you in return.

8.) Writing is Community

As writers, we instantly become a part of a wonderful community of creatives. If you’re reading this, you are one of us. I’ve found that most writers are a generous lot. We know how wonderful it feels to write and we want to share that success with others. When I first sold, I began to see writing as part of a grander stage. Writers can relate to actors, singers, song writers and other artists who create something special from nothing.

9.) Writing Comes with a Thick Skin

Rhino skin can be a blessing. There, I said it. Rejections CAN be a good thing. Most people don’t have critics looking over their shoulders as they do their work, people who criticize everything they do. Online book reviews and beta or social media comments can hurt, but we get through it because we’re driven by our passion to write. There are precious few people who pursue writing and actually finish a novel. In light of that, reviews and harsh comments mean nothing.

10.) Writers Publish

Isn’t it glorious that authors have choices these days? Whether we sell our novels through traditional publishing houses or self-publish, we have options that weren’t always available in the past. We can explore the opportunities to sell or become our own publisher and retain the margin and the creative control from formatting, to cover design, to promotion and pricing. We can do both. It’s great to have choices.

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I love being a part of our TKZ writing family. Having an online community to read what others are experiencing means a lot to me. It bolsters my spirit. When authors share tips on writing craft or share what works for promotion or research–whether it’s in a blog post or in comments–that is a solid reminder that we all share the passion of writing and it’s so worth it.

FOR DISCUSSION:

1.) What brings joy to you about writing? Please share what you would put on YOUR list.

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She is the author of young-adult novels written for Harlequin Teen, the Sweet Justice thriller series for HarperCollins., and the Ryker Townsend FBI psychic profiler series, Mercer's War vigilante novellas, and the upcoming Trinity LeDoux bounty hunter novels set in New Orleans. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs. To keep up with new releases & exclusive giveaways, click HERE

29 thoughts on “Key Ways to Rediscover your Writing “Fun Mojo”

  1. If I wasn’t writing, I’d have to clean the toilets and other household chores. Thinking about that is often a surefire way to get me to the computer.

  2. I love my parents, God bless their souls, but I swear I was raised by wolves and never learned some of the basic oral communication skills others have mastered.
    That said, writing for me is not just about self-expression, but in some ways is a matter of emotional life and death, where I get to gather my thoughts about a story or an experience, explore its depths, and write it down at my own pace, rather than lose it in a flurry of thoughts that go something like “Why is that other person talking so much and not allowing me to get a word in edgewise?”

    • In my big family, dinner time or holiday gatherings were an exercise in HOW TO GET A WORD IN. Total chaos with everyone talking at once. It honed our hearing to catch snippets of “conversations” & keep up. Plus we had to speak like a boxer with quick punches of speaking & score with each blow in rapid succession. Get in. Get out.

      Your comment triggered that memory, but I can see how your quieter reflection (& patience) with your writing is vital in your process. I like that. It DOES take patience to craft a story with layers of emotion. Thanks, Ed.

    • My dad and the rest of the family were Southern storytellers. Meals were spent in entertaining conversation, and little girl me couldn’t get a word in edgewise so I listened. Since my dad and older siblings wouldn’t shut up, I had no choice but to tell my stories in my head and later on paper.

  3. Jordan, you hacked into my brain! I share all the joys you mentioned.

    “Would I still write if I never sold?” is THE best question to ask when discouraged.

    Loved your First Sale story. Often it takes a life-altering crisis like surgery to give writers the impetus to commit wholeheartedly to their passion.

    Rejections – When you say, “I got the most wonderful rejection today,” non-writers look at you funny. Only another writer understands what that means, that your work has reached a level where editors pay attention and you’re inching closer to publication.

    Daring to write painful, personal stuff is hard but that’s also where the best writing comes from. Opening your heart to the world is scary. But when a reader says, “You expressed exactly how I felt,” you’ve succeeded in your job as a writer. That’s the best feeling in the world.

    Thanks for an uplifting reminder of why we write, Jordan!

  4. Love this post, Jordan! Writing allows me to explore the deepest, darkest corners of my psyche and tap into parts of my soul that I didn’t even know existed. Since I’ve been neck-deep in research, I haven’t been free to write like I normally do. On non-writing days it seems like half of me is missing. As soon as I back away from research to write, the world seems to level off again. No one but other writers would understand this phenomenon, which I also find cool. It’s like we’re part of something greater than ourselves, something amazing and inspiring, even if we’re the only ones who know about it. I love that.

    • I’ve even felt my body go into a strange panic attack when I couldn’t write, yet expected to. Crazy, but yeah, we all KNOW THAT here.

  5. Jordan, thank you so much for sharing this! Very encouraging 😊. Creating and writing are as much a part of who I am as breathing and eating. I’m thankful it includes zero-calories because I tend to indulge, lol.

    You nailed it in so many ways. I can’t read a book, article or social media post without this phrase entering my thoughts, “Hmmm, I wonder if…”

    Thanks again!

  6. This is gold, Jordan! #6 is something I fully believe: even if you TRY to copy a certain plot, you CAN’T HELP but make it your own. That’s called Voice. Thanks for writing this.

  7. Very encouraging post today, Jordan! It’s great to be reminded of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

    And yes, I’ve been sucked into the research thing plenty of times. Lately, Iv’e been interrupting DH to ask him questions about tactics, strategies, military history (he’s a military history fanatic), motorcycle engines, or “just lay down here and let me see if this works”. Wikipedia is a rabbit hole for me.

    But, what brings me joy? What makes me happy about writing? I think being able to explore the dark side. We all have one and for the vast majority of us, it’s very well hidden, but a character who embraces it, who relishes in it.. I’m like a cat on catnip. I love exploring what makes people tick, why they would do the things they do. My parents raised me right, so sometimes it’s being able to say the things I want to say, but being a lady, I won’t.

    And if I don’t get my writing fix, I get a little antsy. I start having conversations in my head with my characters and imagining them in scenes, or coming up with backstory scenarios. There’s that empty, expectant feeling.

    • My list needs to be expanded for your addition, Mollie. My mom laughs when she calls to chat & finds out I’m watching another TV show or movie on serial killers or FBI profilers hunting one. Only other writers–or weirdos–understand the fascination with gruesome scary stuff.

      Yet I find I can’t watch gory slasher movies. Go figure.

  8. One aspect I love about being a writer is that it is a lifetime occupation. Unlike most other professions (including my former one as a librarian), you hardly ever hear anyone say “I used to be a writer.”

  9. Thankyou for a wonderful, uplifting post! Jordan, your love and passion for writing really shines through.
    All of the above is true, but I also love that moment when everyone else leaves the house and I sit down at my desk and think I can delve into a world of my choice and making. I feel like a little kid with a secret stash of chocolate that’s all mine.

  10. What a beautiful, positive post, Jordan! Your enthusiasm for this crazy thing we do shows in everything you write. I especially enjoy reading your critiques. I always learn something!

    These are all great reminders. Last night I finished editing and submitted a short story to a mag. Have been on Cloud 9 all day. Even if they reject it, I’ll have this wonderful feeling of having written! My favorite thing…

  11. #4 Research is the big one for me. I love delving into research topics. I love all the branching out of side angles that that research provides. Today I was taking notes from a book (the type of things I like to study usually are not, for the most part, available in digital format) and feeling like a kid in a candy store because I was squirreling away information that would come in handy later on who knows what project. 😎

    • Me too. On tougher research topics, I prefer print anyway. It brings back memories of summer reading in libraries.

      Sue Coletta has been posting on the research payoffs she’s had on writing her new true crime book. Since she lives in the region she’s researching, Sue is traveling when necessary & that intrigues the researcher in me. I can see myself traveling on a binge & forgetting to write the book, but I’d be in heaven.

  12. Research is a big plus for me too. I find myself wondering how I can fit it into my plot. I am writing my first novel, a historical mystery and since I am such a huge history and mystery fan I tend to get lost in it. The history is really interesting. My setting is a real place, not fictional, and because of the history, it makes it more interesting. My exceptional roommate never tells me what I want to hear. When asked her opinion on something, I had better be ready for it! She is going to be my first beta reader. She asks me all the time when I am going to stop researching and start writing! She’s a tough taskmaster, lol.

    • Your first novel idea sounds intriguing. Most new authors delve in without much research, but I can see how the historical genre would demand a different approach. You must appreciate a challenge. Good for you. I can’t wait to hear more after you start writing it.

      Your exceptional roommate sounds perfect.

  13. I really enjoyed this post, thank you and also the comments. I, too, would still write if I never sold. But it might be a bit harder to justify the time I spend at my desk if that was the case. I’d have to do something else like cleaning the house.

  14. Jordan, thank you for explaining why I do what I do, even when it makes me crazy. While I love the research, I’ve been delighted by the unexpected actions and dialogue of my characters. For me, that’s the fun part of writing – the discovery. I’ve also realized how cathartic the writing can be when my characters experience situations I’ve faced in my own life, enabling me to portray the true emotions I felt.

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