Are You Having Fun Yet?

Saturday, September 12, 2020

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 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 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? 


Jeanine DeHoney's writing has been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and blogs. Her stories are always "full" of the voices of the women who loved and nurtured her. 


Sioux Roslawski said...

Jeanine--Sometimes it's a grim kind of fun these days. Raging about what is going on... and then refining the anger into a sharp-edged piece. It ain't what's normally called "fun" but it is satisfying. Healing. Necessary.

I'm going to be the first in line to publicly make my request: I'd love to be one of your beta reader when you finish your manuscript. (Not if. When. ;)

As June Carter Cash sang, "Time's a wastin'."

Cathy C. Hall said...

Lots of good stuff in this one, Jeanine!

I'm a firm believer in fun, though I don't always call it's more like joy, I guess. 'Cause no job is fun every single minute but if, deep down, there's no joy in your work, then it's time to move on. But if there IS joy, there's going to be a lot more fun along the way.

And P.S. I don't have grands but I have grown kids who tend to call me from their cars when they're off to weekend hijinks. I always say, "Have responsible fun!" (I used to just say "Have fun!" but they learned that lesson a little too well! Hahahahahhaa!)

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Yes Sioux, these days definitely are testing days when we all can rage about what is going on in this world. That is when fun takes a back seat to write those "sharp edged pieces" but hopefully comes back again. And I would so love for you to be a beta reader of my manuscript when I am finished. Thanks for asking.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you Cathy. Yes I agree, joy is the mother of fun. We really do need joy deep down inside of us in order to have fun, especially at work. When I worked in daycare it was easy to have both joy and loads of fun with the little ones in my care. I guess that is why I chase it down as often as possible in so many things I do, especially when it comes to writing. And our grown children can take what we say a bit too literally, so I understand why you changed telling them to "Have fun," to "Have responsible fun."

Margo Dill said...

I love this. I do find working on my own books fun. Today, I revised a book, and I enjoyed it. I have had a great day. I thought maybe it was just because I'm nearing 50 (gasp!) that I would rather stay home and write than go out, but also it is fun. So your post made me feel better about myself, too! LOL

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Fun. Joy. Fulfillment. Purpose. There is so much to be found in our writing. Thank you for encouraging us to remember that!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you Margo. So glad you enjoyed revising a book, and my post made you feel better about yourself. And 50 is such a fabulous age. I hope you celebrate in a big way and embrace this wonderful milestone.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

You're so welcome Sue.

Renee Roberson said...

This is an important lesson in that we need to give ourselves permission to find joy in our writing--sometimes we need to focus less on the outcome and more on the process. I think that may be what is at the heart of the writer's block, the fear of what may or may not happen with the finished product. You know what I find more joy in these days? Talking to other people I'm interviewing for my podcast or articles I'm writing. I think I'm so starved to talk to other people that I've begun to see it more as a fun opportunity than a task. Thanks for sharing your perspective and I love that you are instilling that joy into your granddaughters'experiences!

Theresa Boedeker said...

Yes, yes. If we are going to write, let's do it for fun. Sometimes writing is almost to much fun.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Jeanine, I love this. I'm also one that says, "Have fun!" no matter if it's someone going to the market or the dentist. :) We can truly make everything fun if we choose to.

Lately I've been asking my "characters": What do you want from me? I love it when they answer while I'm writing. :)

This morning, I wrote a complete essay of around 2k in one sitting. What's fun for me is figuring out why these moments in my life have such resonance and what they mean. I'm challenging myself to write one essay a week until NaNoWriMo where I'm going to work on my memoir again for my 3rd year.

I took ballet, and the teacher who ran the conservatory was a retired Prima from France--she was so strict! So I'm glad you're telling your granddaughter to have fun. That's what it's all about! :)

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you Angela. Yes, I believe we can choose as much as possible to have fun and enjoy what we do.

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