Writing a book isn’t easy. In fact, writing a book is hard. You not only have to create an entire world in your mind, but then translate the whole thing to paper—all whilst making sure you have a strong structure, gripping plot, insightful characters, and at least 80,000 well-crafted words.
But it’s also an absolute joy.
This is the part of writing I want to focus on, because so many of us get so caught up in its very real challenges that we forget writing is something we love. And in my opinion, when we write a book with love—rather than stress, anxiety, and self-doubt—the book is so much better for it. It’s also just a lot more fun.
I know because that’s how I wrote my latest novel, 30 Things I Love About Myself. It is a warm comedy about a woman going on a self-love journey after her life falls apart. Not only is it my favorite novel to date, but I absolutely loved writing it.
The whole process was fun, exciting, and inspiring, and it all flowed easily. Even when bits were hard (like editing—I had to cut 30,000 words) I loved what I was doing so much that I still gushed about how much fun I was having to anyone who made the mistake of asking. I used to speak about writing this book like my friends spoke about their husbands—I was head over heels in love. Here’s how I did it.
Treat writing like a date
If you sit down to write at your laptop like you’re about to do a dreaded chore, it’s not going to feel fun. It will feel stressful, difficult, and maybe even boring. But if you treat your writing times like a fun date, the whole thing feels so much more joyful. I try and find a place I love to write, like a café with great snacks, and I wear an outfit I love. It means that when I sit down to write, I’m already feeling great—I’m eating delicious cake, I’m in a café I love, and so I start my writing from a place of excitement rather than drudgery.
Even if I’m writing at home, I try to create an atmosphere I like—candles, music I can write to—and wear something I feel good in, even if it’s just really comfy loungewear. It might sound silly, but it makes a difference.
Remind yourself you love this idea
It’s easy to feel inspired and excited by a book when you’re at the early stages of having a great idea. Less so when you’re struggling with structure, or halfway in, and realizing something major doesn’t work. But take a moment to remind yourself that this is something you’ve chosen to write because you love it. So, connect with that love and passion you have for the idea, and then you can get back to writing.
Not everyone gets to be a writer. Whether you’re where you want to be in your career or not, it’s amazing that you have the gift of writing! So, feel grateful for it. You could have had a much less exciting gift or passion. But instead, you got writing! So have fun with it. Appreciate that this is something you’re dedicating time to. Think of how your younger self would find what you’re doing so cool. Be proud of it!
Trust in the process
The hard bits are part of the process, and when you push past them and finally fix the bit you were stressed about, it feels amazing. So, when you’re struggling, just trust that it will eventually work out. It’s all part of the process, and if you accept that rather than resist it, then you can enjoy even the difficult bits.
That’s what I did when I was editing 30 Things—at one point I dismantled the whole book and felt total panic. But then I remembered this was essential to fixing it, and in a way, it was kind of fun. I was reconstructing my craft, and I was growing as a writer. Another thing to feel grateful for.
Don’t take it all so seriously
Sometimes it can feel hard to enjoy writing when your book isn’t where you want it to be. Or if you need to give up on a book because it’s just not working. But instead of feeling like you’ve failed, view it as proof that you tried. Not everyone is brave enough to do that. Or if you’ve finished your book and you like it, but it’s not 100% perfect, don’t obsess over the flaws. Just be proud of what you’ve done.
And remember, it’s only writing. It isn’t a life and death situation. It’s just you doing something you love. So get back to loving it!