Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Writing Hygge

By Ronda Simmons

Have you got the winter blues? Are you struggling with productivity? Maybe it's time to introduce a little hygge to your life.

Hygge is one of those foreign words that just doesn't translate into English. Pronounced “hue-ga,” it's a Scandinavian concept that refers to a feeling of coziness and comfort. 

Denmark is the happiest country on earth for good reason, the Danes embrace all things hygge. Hygge can be associated with candles, warm knitted socks, fireplaces, and good friends, but it is so much more than that. 

It incorporates the concepts of wholeness, awareness, and gratitude. To be hygge means to have a conscious appreciation for and enjoyment of the present moment.

Turns out, it can also help our writing practices, here's how:

Image result for hygge

  • Simplicity. The first and most important step is to clean and declutter your working environment. Similar to the principles of feng shui, the art of hygge is about simplicity. Clear away those stacks of papers, dried up markers and yesterday’s coffee mug. If you are not using it, put it away. Once your workspace is neat and tidy, you'll be in a much better frame of mind to create.

  • Mindfulness. Work only on the project at hand. Let your answering machine take your calls, stop checking email, sign off of Facebook, and for goodness sake, stop thinking about your other deadlines. Focus on what you are doing and you'll make better progress. 

Image result for tea light

  • Lighting. Harsh fluorescent lighting is a hygge buster. I have found in my writing practice that the ritual of lighting a candle before I start to work is a signal to my psyche that it's time to create. 

  • Comfort. The Danes even have a name for comfortable pants, hyggebukser. Make sure that your clothing is as hygge as possible. Yes, that means that if staying in your pajamas and bathrobe all day works for you, by all means, do it. Another Danish word that I love is hyggekrog. It means "cozy nook." A comfy chair, a warm throw and a good book make any corner a hyggekrog to me.

  • Connect. Writing is a solitary enterprise, but sometimes working near other people is the answer to breaking out of writer's block. Consider joining other NCW members at the next Write-In at the Fort Collins Coffee Shop.

Check out these websites for more information on hygge:

What is hygge?

7 Ways to Embrace Hygge at Work

Hygge for Writers


Patricia Stoltey said...

I embrace the concept of hygge, especially the hyggebukser. I have baggy sweatpants that replace my jeans as soon as I get home from errands and stuff.

Laura Mahal said...

I was recently reading--I know! A shocker--when I came across this social commentary in an editorial:

"Finland, Norway, and Denmark are not without their problems, but researchers say what sets the happier nations [F, N, D] apart is the premium their cultures place on time spent in nature, and in harmonious, intimate contact with friends and family. The Danes even have a word, 'Hygge,' that describes these cozy, high-quality social interactions. If there is a suggestion we can collectively and personally take from the happiness ranking, it's this: Richness comes from human connection. GDP matters less than hygge." (credit to William Falk, editor-in-chief of The Week)

Thank you, Ronda! You make me smarter. And more harmonious.

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