Whenever my youngest granddaughter used to put on her leotard, tights and ballet slippers to go to dance class, pre-pandemic, after she wrapped her arms around me to say good-bye, I'd always tell her in my cheeriest voice to, "Have fun!"
I hoped that my words would catch in her core so that she wouldn't just be preoccupied or anxious about doing the most perfect pirouettes and arabesques, but instead focus on having fun.
"Have fun!," is what I voice to most who know me, even if they're just going for a Walmart run, because isn't meandering through those aisles filling your cart with your stomach's desires, such as a decadent chocolate cake, fun?
The capacity to "Have fun," is on my top four list of aspirations I especially want for my granddaughters. It falls somewhere between being authentic to themselves, compassionate towards others, and fearless, so that they can become fearless women. But I also want them to live their lives without taking life too seriously, to incorporate fun into as many aspects of their life as they can knowing that joy, laughter, and feeling good about what they are doing are priceless.
I must admit I've ignored my own voice and not taken my own advice to, "Have fun," when it comes to writing. Those words somersault out of my mouth and land in my lap too infrequently, as if as a writer I'm not allowed in the fun zone.
Instead of ear-piercing screams of joy, like those of children at a playground, there is the gurgling sound of doubt in my stomach because...my writing may not really be as good as I think it is, or a publisher or editor is bound to see more of my story's flaws than its intent or essence, so why bother submitting it.
My writing journey hasn't been filled with enough moments of that exhilarating feeling of pumping my legs to go higher and higher on a playground swing so I could almost touch the sky. Instead it's been, don't go so high (get too confident) because you might fall off and scrape your knee (get a rejection).
But thankfully, because I have been detoxing from critical self talk of lately, I have begun to break that negative cycle and heed my advice for a change. Yes, finally, I'm having fun writing. Well, maybe I was having fun writing all along but was afraid to acknowledge that. But now I do. I am having fun even with the long hours spent isolated in my room with only my characters (they can be very entertaining). I am having fun even during the laborious rewrites I undertake to get a manuscript submission ready or to resubmit one that has been rejected. How? Because I am immersed in this creative energy that makes my insides feel so good...no great.
Having fun writing means that I, little ole me, has this superpower that helps me create stories from just a seedling. Having fun writing means I have the freedom and the platform to say whatever I need to say in whatever way I choose to until I am spent. How liberating is that!
And on those days when the stories that need to be told, are too raw or too solemn, to call it a fun time, then it becomes a therapeutic time, a way for me, and others who need to hear my story, to heal. That fun part of writing will come again, rise like a phoenix inside of me, at the right time and in the right writing space.
We as writers, toil each day to tell our stories and publish them. Even as we toil though we can choose to have fun while writing if we embrace it at a 360-degree angle so it can be potent and full-bodied each time we put pen to paper or press the keys of our laptop. Having fun while writing is a state of mind, a mood we shouldn't feel afraid or guilty about flaunting. It's so becoming on us.
So are you having fun yet?