Nancy: Joie D’Ecriture

Happy-New-Year-2016Last week, I  gave you some food for thought regarding setting goals for 2016. This week, I’m going to share my goals. But you might notice something…different about them.

This year, I’m not going to tell you about my word count targets or list of projects to complete. Yes, I have them. Yes, I’m working on a my multi-year strategic plan. And yes, there are spreadsheets (need you even ask???). But this year, for public accountability purposes, I’m sharing my plan for something more important, something I’m calling joie d’ecriture (with apologies to any French speakers out there.)

This is my own made-up term to describe what I hope to achieve this year: joy in my writing. It’s based on joie de vivre, for which I found a translation of ‘an exuberant joy for life’. I love that. And I want that, not only for life in general, but also for writing in particular. The truth is, I haven’t been good about achieving either of those things over the past two years, and I’ve set myself up, through some unrealistic commitments to the day job, to fail at them again in 2016. Unless I take drastic measures. So, drastic measure number one is to post them here for all of you to see and to hold me accountable over the next 12 months.

Nancy’s 5-Step Plan to Achieve Joie d’Ecriture in 2016 (in No Particular Order)

Learn something new every day. This is a pretty broad category, and ‘things learned’ might range from something I discover about my story or characters to something new I learn at work, which isn’t a huge stretch. At my day job, I help win contracts for companies by learning as much as possible about programs, projects, customers, and competitors. Other sources of learning could be talking with friends or just leaving my house every now and then and observing other people. Turns out, learning doesn’t have to be about writing! Who knew?

Make mental connections. This is where I take those new things I’m learning every day and turn them into writing fodder. (You knew there was going to be a writing connection in there somewhere.) We’re writers; it’s what we do. Learn something, cogitate on it, store it away, pull it out at a later date to use it in a story.

Make social connections. I’m sure many of you, as fellow introverts, can identify with my instinct to hole up in my house, particularly in my writer cave, for weeks or months on end. Especially those of us who are forced to go out into the world and interact with people (so many people!) for our jobs or other commitments. But when I just get past that instinct and accept an invitation from a friend or loved one to do something sociable, I rarely regret it. I need to remember that. And I need to set a goal of doing at least one non-work-related, non-family obligation, honest-to-god social thing every month. Just twelve purely social outings between now and December 31. I can do this. I think.

Drink more wine. Really, really good wine. We have some very good, very reasonably-priced house wines that we enjoy. But there are also some really wonderful, special occasion, and sometimes really expensive wines we’ve tried and enjoyed, too. I don’t need to drink that kind of wine every day, but I’m thinking once a month we should open a bottle of something extra special to enjoy. Maybe I’ll share my picks with you and we can all join in a monthly toast to life, love, health, and good writing.

Enjoy story. I want to read more (don’t we all, all the time?), and watch good movies and TV shows. Then I want to re-read and re-watch them to dissect what I love about them. And most importantly, I want to steal borrow emulate those aspects in my own writing.  Nothing super-fancy or uber-crafty in this goal. I just want to love story in all its forms and translate that into my writing life.

That’s it. That’s what I’ll be striving to accomplish in 2016. (Well, that and some metrics contained an about half a dozen spreadsheets.) So what about you? Do you have any joie d’ecriture (or joie de vivre!) plans for 2016?

8 thoughts on “Nancy: Joie D’Ecriture

  1. Love this so much! There’s something magic about naming something in a foreign language. It’s like turning your goals into an incantation, and I had the sudden desire to do this in Japanese. 筆の幸せ Please note, I don’t think any self-respecting Japanese literature buff would phrase it in this way. But it’s inspirational to me to say “joy of the brush”.

    • Michaeline: There’s that “tidying” woman in Japan, Marie Kondo. She talks about how your things (and I suppose the organization of them) should spark joy. I think the brush of joy works very well!

      • I read her book, and she’s basically FlyLady without as much folksy humor or good-natured chiding. As a child, Marie Kondo talked about how her family banned her from their rooms because she would throw away their treasures. We have an aunt who comes from Osaka about twice a year, and “tidies” things. Drives me straight up a wall!

        On the other hand, I do recognize that there is a joy to having a cleared space. There’s a joy to knowing what you own, and being able to find it in five minutes. (-: There’d definitely be a joy until I got used to it for having a flat place to fire up my computer.

        I gotta think more about the joy, and less about the pain of doing it. Any of it. All of it. A wide variety of “it.”

  2. This is an excellent plan. I think I will steal, ah, borrow, ah, emulate some of your stuff. As far as community – there is a writers conference on the eastern shore that I am considering attending in March (since, sadly, RWA is out this year).

  3. Great thoughts, Nancy! It’s good to remember that while writing is work, it shouldn’t feel horrible, at least not usually. You need to relax, take a break, or do whatever else you need to do to come to the writing refreshed and ready to go. I like the sound of that wine..

  4. I like your 5-step plan, Nancy. I know I had my greatest success creatively last year when I took a break from writing as “just another job” and started exploring new and different things.

    Good luck with your Joie D’Ecriture.

  5. Pingback: Nancy: It’s the End of the Year As We Know It – Eight Ladies Writing

  6. Pingback: Nancy: Intention – Eight Ladies Writing

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