Elizabeth: Measuring Joy

img_1231As I mentioned back in my New Year’s post, my watchword for 2017 is Joy.  Now that January is over, it seems like a good time for a check-in to see how just how that’s been working out so far.

There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” ~ J.K. Rowling

Discovery

January was a good month for new stories.  Maddie and Dan from my holiday Mistletoe Reboot story got another installment in their “is it over or not relationship”; Jack and his brother Nick were featured in my January Short story; and Katie and Grant made their way around London on a team-building treasure hunt in last Friday’s Random Word Improv.  Even better, as far as meeting some longer-term goals, Cassie and Nicolai traveled along with me on this week’s business trip and are slowly inching their way through Act 2.  All of that is definitely “joy” inducing.

“Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.”

Uncertainty

A glance at recent news headlines will show that life is just as uncertain, or maybe even more so than it was in early January.   On the plus side, it has been very helpful in keeping me focused on right now rather than lamenting over stories that fizzled out before they hit the page or focusing on hitting that New York Times best-seller list in the future (which, as Jilly pointed out here, probably no longer exists).  One result of all this uncertainty has been a new interest in politics – something had not previously had a priority spot on my to-do list.  Different times call for different behavior.  While I used to watch the news only for the sports and weather, I’ve now got the New York Times on my iPad and a yearly subscription.  The morning briefing hits my email box each day and I actually read it first thing every morning.

Anyone who knows me on Facebook will have seen an uptick of current-event focused posts, and my local representatives have been the beneficiaries (I’m sure they view it that way) of calls.  Although all this action is politically based, there is a story-telling aspect as well.  Making opinions heard and winning over hearts and minds takes compelling stories just as much (or more so) than compelling facts.  The conference I am at right now is focused on how to do just that, and the things I’m learning apply to all story-telling, whether it’s fictionally or politically based.  That’s an additional hit of “joy” right there.

You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have.”  ~ Maya Angelou

Creativity

Part of my plan for joy this year involves branching out into new terrain.  I guess you could say my focus on politics fits that requirement, though that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.  Fortunately, I’ve been doing a few other things in that area.  I’m working on building my website, though the layout and graphics and whatnot are taking forever (note to self:  pick up a copy of Websites for Dummies).  I’ve also been spending some quality time with my camera, including today while on a break at my conference that is being held on a university campus with a wonderful sculpture garden (more on that in Friday’s post).  I’m going to give this a “B” grade on the “joy” scale for now – good, but I can do better here.

The more you read, the more things you know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  ~ Dr. Seuss.

Reading

Some of my favorite moments of joy this past month were courtesy of Loretta Chase.  I have finally taken aim at my TBR pile and her Vixen in Velvet and Gentlemen Prefer Blonds were at the top of the stack.  Both reminded me of the joy that got me started writing in the first place and motivated me to keep trying.

Okay, that’s enough about me.  How have your New Year plans been working out for you so far?  Any successes or challenges you’d like to share?

4 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Measuring Joy

  1. (-: Joy, quantified! Love it, and especially love the Maya Angelou quote that reminds us the more we use creativity, the more we get!

    I have been unhappy with my production of material, but my false view is that “I’ve done nothing!” I have done some writing sprints that I liked, so there’s that. It’s the old dichotomy between “what I was supposed to do” and “what I have actually done” where “what I have actually done” looks invisible because it wasn’t “what I was supposed to do”.

    (-: I didn’t do as much reading as I would have liked, either, but I did read a couple of books that I really enjoyed this year, and I’m thinking about buying some more along those lines (even though I have several books on my to-be-read pile that I thought I was quite interested in when I bought them).

    I have been enjoying a bunch of comedians on YouTube — mostly British. David Mitchell is a standout, and so is Richard Ayoade. They come in very short clips, too, so it’s very easy to do the “aw, just one more!” thing, like a bag of ansty yet hilarious potato chips.

    (-: And the dogs and cats are always sources of great joy. Such funny little things! So idiosyncratic.

    And the ukulele . . . a lot of my creative time and energy is going into the uke, and I can’t even be worried about it. I try, but then I think, “No. This makes me really happy.” And that’s the end of my anxiety on that score. I wish I could be more like that on the topic of short stories. Perhaps because I really don’t know that much about the ukulele, and I don’t have great expectations for it, therefore I can enjoy the momentary pleasures so very much.

    (-: And the sun is out today, so really, joy is in the air. I think spring may be stirring underneath all that snow and cold!

  2. ‘the old dichotomy between “what I was supposed to do” and “what I have actually done” where “what I have actually done” looks invisible because it wasn’t “what I was supposed to do”.’

    I know what you mean Michaline; that old “supposed to” can make accomplishments seem invisible. Yay! for the ukulele progress though. That sounds like a great way to have fun and nourish your creativity. Bonus that it makes you really happy.

  3. I’m working on joy, too. Right now I’m finishing up my last paid gig before full retirement, and when that’s finished (by tomorrow, if all goes well), I’ll truly feel like I can own my time. Except for this gig, I’ve been working on my WIP regularly, which definitely was on my New Years resolutions list. And I want to get out more and (sigh) exercise more. I’ve been doing some of that, and I have screaming muscle cramps to prove it. So—getting there!

    • Congrats on the “last paid gig before full retirement”. I hope you have some great things planned (besides all of that WIP progress). It’s wonderful that you’ve been working regularly on your WIP and, if I remember a previous comment of yours, writing more words than you’re deleting.

      Bummer about the screaming muscle cramps – maybe with the (possible) upcoming break in the rain you’ll be able to get outside a bit. I go down to the gym at work before I head home in the evenings to try and work out some of the kinks from sitting at a computer all day and it really makes a difference (even though I can’t say I *enjoy* doing it).

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