Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Joy Project 2020

Image result for joyWell, hello again! I'll spare you the boring details, but January really got away from me! And here we are, almost a week into February.

The critique group I belong to has a nice tradition that I've noticed has grown more popular over the past few years. Instead of making writer's resolutions, we each choose a word to inspire and guide us through the new year. In the past, most of my words have been practical and/or action-oriented. Structure, for example, and engage.

But this year, I needed a different type of word. 2019 wasn't a stellar writing year for me. It took forever to get anything accomplished, and when I did...(insert cricket sound here). Almost every connection I made, whether online or in person, went nowhere, and by September, I felt like I was just throwing my time and energy into a bottomless well.

(It's funny how it's great to have a bottomless well when you're drawing from it, but terrible when you're doing the opposite. But I digress.)

I knew I needed a word for 2020 that might help me reconnect with my writer self. Love didn't seem quite right, because even when I hate writing, I still love it, if that makes sense. Fun didn't quite fit, either, because I don't expect that writing will always be fun. In the end, I settled on the word Joy, which combines elements of love and fun and also a spark of energy that I have been sorely missing as of late.

At Christmas, I mentioned this to my sister, who is creative and wise and wonderful in so many ways, and she gifted me with the book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness. The author, Ingrid Fettell Lee, has a background in design and a deep interest in the aesthetics that promote feelings of joy. "At the heart of the book," she writes, "lies the idea that joy isn't just something we find. It's also something we can make, for ourselves and for those around us."

Lee devotes a chapter to each of her ten "aesthetics of joy." For the next ten months, starting in February, I am going to work on bringing each aesthetic into my life and will report back here with my results. In between, I'll post other random stuff when the mood strikes me.

I hope your 2020 is off to a wonderful start, and I'll leave you with this quote from Emily Dickinson:

"Find ecstasy in life: the mere sense of living is joy enough."


  1. Joy is a great guiding word choice, Jenny. For 2020, I picked FINISH! because I have so many projects piled up that never seem to get that final rewrite or edit. I'm off to a great start, so hopefully my resolve will continue. As you noticed, when we set our mind to something, guidance seems to pop up to help us out. One of my favorite teacher/bloggers just put out a new online course on the topic of finishing projects, so I signed up. Serendipity...oh, yes.

    1. Pat, I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who has trouble with almost-finished projects piling up. I think I'll borrow "finish" as my second word for the year :-) I'm happy you're off to a great start!

  2. I don't get the whole pick a word thing, probably cause it wouldn't work for me. But if something works for you go for it!!

    If you are going to pick a word for the year, I have to say you can't go past Joy (which just happens to be my middle name *grin*).

    1. That's a great name, and I'll try live up to it this year :-)