The Lighthouse Writers Top-Secret Blog

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Lauren Groff and the Art of Joyful Writing

I know there are others who will blog more eloquently and completely about the Fly-By Writer’s weekend with Lauren Groff (see Allison Barker’s excellent post), but I’m fresh off her last workshop and I feel compelled to share the one thing I hope to keep with me for the rest of my writing life.


That’s it. If you missed the workshops and the Utopian Feast at Lighthouse, you missed an amazing weekend. Groff’s writing is stunning and amusing, brilliant and thoughtful. Groff’s writing is Groff personified.

Throughout the course of two workshops and following the reading of one of her masterful stories by the talented Martha Harmon Pardee of Stories on Stage, Groff managed to convey unbridled joy about books and writing and even revising. One of the first thing she said, smiling all the while, was that she’d written three novels that were utter failures before she managed to finally write one that would be published.

She said the following sentence more times than I can count: “I love that book so much.” She said it about classics and short story collections and post-modern novels and poetry. I never doubted her sincerity.

Lauren Groff is in love with writing and reading and talking about both. It’s refreshing. Heaven knows you could toss a rock in any direction and hit a depressed writer. But an optimistic, joyful writer? Those seem rare. Groff is the best kind of optimist. She knows that writing is hard work. She knows that she will spend at least four years working on any novel. She knows that she will do a ton of research, much of which she’ll never use. She knows she will write numerous drafts, some of which she’ll never read again. She’s fine with all of that. She’s a realistic optimist.

This sort of pragmatic but sunny approach to writing is one I hope to emulate. As I move forward on yet another draft of my own novel, I’m going to try to keep Groff’s advice in my head. “Writing is a joyful process,” she said. She’s right.

We need to embrace the joy.

About Tiffany Quay Tyson

Tiffany Quay Tyson is a writer living in Denver, Colorado. She was born and raised in Mississippi. THREE RIVERS, her debut novel, was a Colorado Book Award finalist and a finalist for the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for fiction. She is a 2016 Amtrak Resident. She is currently working on her second novel.

9 comments on “Lauren Groff and the Art of Joyful Writing

  1. heather
    April 8, 2013

    Awesome post, thank your for sharing. . .
    and i am so sorry i had to miss Lauren Groff’ seminar.

  2. Terry Everett
    April 8, 2013

    I smile with joy reading your post, joyfully remembering your joyful presence, your radiant smile as you participated in my classes.

  3. Jannett Matusiak
    April 8, 2013

    Great post Tiffany! Great reminder to bring in the joy, chase out the angst. Your throwing a rock sentence had me cracking up. Sorry that I had to miss this great weekend.

  4. Joan Gregerson
    April 8, 2013

    Great post! Yep, good reminder to embrace the joy of this inexplicable passion called writing. Thanks to you and Lauren Groff!

  5. Jenny I
    April 8, 2013

    Agreed, Tiffany! Thanks!

  6. Keith Hood
    April 8, 2013

    I wish I could have been there. So sorry I had to miss this one.

  7. danmanzan
    April 10, 2013

    Lauren said the words ‘fun’ and ‘play’ a lot over the weekend. A great reminder that the act of discovery can take on both.

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This entry was posted on April 8, 2013 by in Cool Events, Parties, The Write Idea, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , .

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