A lot of the time, as writers and would-be-creatives, we over-complicate creativity.
Maybe you’re wondering…
How can I be more creative?
How do I build a creative habit?
How can I establish better creative rituals?
Well, I’ve got one surprising tip for daily creativity! And it’s NOT “wake up at 5am” or chain yourself to your writing desk. It’s a whole lot more fun than that. (I know, right? Who knew creativity was actually just supposed to be fun?)
Because the solution to daily creative habits so often lies, not in transforming ourselves, but in going back to the very roots of our creativity.
Get More Creative Today…
Visit me at The Joyful School of Writing on YouTube to learn more and to try out THREE practical tools to be more creative daily… 🎨
Because I’m an author, lots of people tell me (usually in a whispered, conspiratorial tone):
“Meg, I want to be a writer.”
Sometimes they ask, with rising desperation, possibly gripping at my sleeve like an Austen heroine in pursuit of a husband: “how do I become a writer?”
If they’re really having a moment, they add the old classic: “I know I have a book in me.”
I often want to give these people a hug because – however they phrase their question – they’re usually looking pretty plagued and downtrodden by their writerly aspirations.
If the question of how to become a writer plagues you too, I’ve got some bad news and some good news.
The bad news is: you’ve been asking the wrong thing. The good news? There’s a much more exciting and expansive question to ask, which I’ve rarely (if ever) heard:
“How can I build a life around words?” 💡
If your To-Do List reads:
⛈ Publish a book/get a byline/make a big pot of cash from my words. ❌ Become a writer. 🙈 (Similarly amorphous, enormous goal here).
…then it’s little wonder if you’re going around in circles.
Why? Because the first step in a writing life isn’t to just bash out a book from nowhere, or to pop on some tortoise-shell specs and take convincing headshots with an old typewriter in the background; it’s to make your life about words.
Look, I’m guessing tomorrow you’ve got some other things besides becoming a writer on the agenda. Things like basic hygiene, paying rent, and getting a grocery shop in. Yes? Then the day after will likely be the same. And the day after that. And so on.
The truth is there is rarely, if ever, a single day that comes where you’ll suddenly become a writer.
It doesn’t happen because of a byline or your book in a bookshop. Instead, it’s a way of being born out of a million tiny moments where you put words at the centre of your life. Here’s an example…
A “Build Your Life Around Words” To-Do List would instead read:
🌈 Capture my shower reveries in the notes on my phone. ✅ Treat my work emails as a chance to hone my ability to connect through words. ✨ Journal a dialogue between my inner creative and my inner critic.
…then you’ll be getting somewhere. Because words will become the centre of your life. Writing will expand around you (the real you; not a vague, flickering “Writer You” that’s been made up in your head). The way you exist day-to-day will gradually shift.
See the difference? It’s not an overnight hack, but if you focus on building a writing life moment by moment rather than hoping to blink twice and see a whole new you appear, your days might just start looking a whole lot more wordsy.
And, my friend, a wordsy life is what being a writer is all about.
When we write, many things can happen. Often (and this is the beauty of writing) we end up somewhere entirely different than we thought we would. We start writing a story; we get a poem. We begin a journal entry about our annoying neighbour; we end up getting an insight about our childhood. Seriously, anything can happen on the page. It’s part of the fun.
Yet so often there is this… pull in our writing, a current moving just below the surface, drawing us towards a focus on the tough stuff. I have found this to be true personally and in my research and teaching practice. I hasten to add that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this—just as long as it is serving us. Sometimes the page is the only place we have to put tough stuff, in which case it is essential. Nevertheless, I am a lifelong advocate for one simple truth: the page is also a place for joy. And, for many reasons, joy on the page doesn’t often happen by accident.
In my experience, we must invite joy along when it comes to writing.
Reflective writing, for me, is a tonic. It is one of the greatest tools for self-development we have at our easy disposal. Yet the thing about reflection is that it is sometimes tricky; it can be heavy. Plus, it’s a learned skill. At different times of our lives, and in different areas of our lives, we may find it easier or more difficult to reflect.
We can also get blocked when we write reflectively. We may find we ‘don’t know what to say’ or that what we do say comes out wooden; it doesn’t feel true.
Enter a new, fun writing tool that’s both guided by our life-affirming emotions and easy: joywriting.
I’ve conjured this addition to the Positive Journal toolkit to celebrate all the ways in which writing doesn’t have to be particularly thoughtful or reflective, or even make any sense at all, to be a nourishing practice.
I’ve also coined this term to incorporate two traditions within writing for wellbeing: freewriting and ecstatic writing (a quick Google will tell you all you need to know about either). Joywriting takes the best bits of both of these writing traditions and combines them in a new way of meeting ourselves on the page that stays true to the art and science of what I call Positive Journal® writing.
Spend 10 minutes today writing purely for joy, without attention to grammar, spelling, productivity, or any particular project. What happens?