Writing for Joy

I pulled out my journal for a very different reason then I normally do the other day and it made me pause. It made me think about the reasons I grab my journal. I reach for my journal in very specific times. I reach for my journal in times of stress and anxiety. It’s my safe space to write away the fears, stressors, and anxiety seeds before they take root. I also reach for my journal in times of inspiration. My last big story idea was started in a paper journal I bought on a whim at Target before sitting down to have an iced tea and a scone while waiting for my friend at a Panera. True story. But you know why I reached for my journal the other day? To write a joyful list. And in that moment, I realized I rarely reach for my journal in times of joy.

It’s not that I don’t chronicle my joy. But I don’t chronicle it the same way as the other things that go in my journal. I don’t know if that’s because when I’m feeling joy I want to share it and I do that by pushing out instead of pulling in when I’m stressed? I also wonder if it has to do with the idea that when I’m joyful, I should be grateful, and keeping a gratitude list brings a certain amount of apprehension to my mind. Keeping a gratitude list feels like a responsibility and that is a heavier kind of writing exercise to undertake. A joyful list is light, and makes my heart sing. It brings to mind all kinds of images that make me smile and radiate warmth.

What kind of a joyful list was I starting to write you ask? I was trying to decide why I’d continued to be on a Disney Vlog kick on YouTube. My husband and I had started watching Disney vlogs a year ago when we decided to stay on Disney World property for the first time for an upcoming Disney trip we were planning. As the info-geeks we are, we researched and started to watch room/resort tour videos. But this kick for Disney content hadn’t stopped once we’d returned. (And staying on property was AWESOME! Highly recommend it 🙂 ) Part of the reason was that we’d decided to go on a Disney Cruise for our twenty year anniversary and had switched from watching videos about the All Star Properties to videos about the Disney Dream ship. But I hadn’t stopped when those trips were over (I’d actually subscribed to some of the YouTubers we’d found.  My favorites are The Tim Tracker, Blair Lamb, DFBGuide, and Michael Kay . ) and I realized it was because of the joy it gave me. Every video I watched brought me back to those moments of joy I had during my various seasons of life spent in those places. Watching the videos made me remember all of my trips to Disney. I thought about going on my very first trip with my Grandma and Grandpa, experiencing Disney with my entire family not long before my parent’s divorce, being there with my husband (then boyfriend) before we started college, the trips we took before graduation and then going on our honeymoon. My writing exercise of trying to unravel my motivation for watching all of these videos lead me to creating a joyful list which included all of those memories and more. It was a lovely little detour my brain went on and a fun activity I plan to do again. Soon.

Then I got back to work and started making a to-do list for the week. 😁 This coming week is for formatting my manuscript I’m going to trade with my peer critique partner. Once I’ve swapped with her, my time will be spent doing a complete, start to finish, front to back, full and completely complete revision on the manuscript I get back from her. All other deadlines (well, any other deadlines besides work for Page Half Full and other business related items) will be held off until this revision is complete.

Have you ever written a joyful list? What inspires you to reach for a journal or stop and take a moment to write?

Happy Writing!

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