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A PhD author-in-waiting asked over dinner, “How do you get motivated to write?”

“I just write,” I replied.  “Don’t think about it much.”

She persisted, explaining what it’s like to be a professor with a book-in-progress.

“There must be some method, something you use …”

At the risk of sounding like a Nike ad, I answered glibly, “Just do it.”

Of course, her question made me think about this more often, partly because I’ve been very productive lately.

I’ve been writing in joy.

I’ve been writing so much, preparing for a big project, I haven’t questioned motivation.

Our culture celebrates the depressed writer (Plath, Hemingway), the depressed artist (O’Keeffe, Van Gogh), the depressed singer (Sting, Cobain), the depressed screenwriter/film director (Woody Allen).

Many sell books about their depression, and speak publicly about it (Mike Wallace), in the hope of helping others.  Some have made an extraordinary contribution to others by writing about mental illness and its strong link to creativity (Kay Redfield Jamison).

But writing in joy?

I’ve been thinking a lot about her questions, grateful to be writing in quiet and contentment.