A friend sent me this nun photo and it made my week. Yeah, I went to Catholic School. And yeah, I really wanted to do devil ears behind Sister Louise. I never did though. She was strict and mean and I was terrified of her.
Sometimes I feel this kind of fear with my writing. The work feels way too important and daunting, the stakes too high, to do something cheeky. But guess what? This is exactly when I SHOULD be making devil ears.
Remember when you used to sit in the sun and write in your journal and it felt so GOOD? No one was going to read it and you could just pour your heart out onto the page and it felt so wonderful, such a release, to articulate your feelings?
Remember when you jotted down a line of dialogue and cracked up because it was funny?
Remember when you made up characters who were ridiculous and outlandish and insane? And they made you giggle?
Remember when you got so into your writing that you disappeared for hours and when you “came to,” it was night and you blinked into the darkness, stumbling back to the real world with a huge smile on your face?
Remember when your writing was fun?
Yesterday my son came running into my office with his computer, face beaming, and said, “Is this what I think it is?” He then proceeded to show me a clip from the TV show THE AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson (played by Clark Gregg) walks into a room and sits down at a large conference table. As he introduces himself and the official-looking woman he entered with, I burst out laughing. The names he used were those of one of my oldest and dearest friends and her 12-year-old son. The Executive Producer of AGENTS is a friend of ours from UCLA and guess what? HE’S HAVING FUN! He’s giving his characters the names of his buddies. He’s joking and riffing, and loving it.
How can you do the same?
Take action! Is there a funny character in your story? Lean into him or her. Even if you’re writing a darker mystery or thriller, can you create a person to provide comic relief? Avoid always working on your “serious” writing project. Write stupid stuff, for fun. A limerick, or a crazy song, or a wacky love note to your significant other. Rhyming is good. Scatological is better. Do something crazy in your pages. Pick someone in your life who’s funny and make them a character in your book. Or pick someone you hate. You can kill them. Ha Ha Ha Ha. Hi-larious!
Reconnect to why you love writing. It fills your heart with joy, with laughter, it makes you feel things.
If your writing has become a drag, I have one bit of advice.
Devil ears. Right this minute.
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