Hygge (pronounced hue-gah or hoo-gah) is the Danish concept for coziness and contentment. It’s about embracing simplicity, taking pleasure in quiet moments, getting out into nature, surrounding self with creature comforts. As writers, we could all gain a great deal from embracing this lifestyle hack. Though the acts of writing, drafting, and revising bring me joy, the critiques, querying, and seemingly endless amount of waiting tend to induce anxiety, fear, and self-doubt. So when someone yells coziness in Danish, I say, “Sign me the heck up.”
This is how I've embraced hygge into my writing life:
Don’t worry, be hygge.
First, run and slip into the biggest comfy sweater you can find. Nestle into some wooly socks, toasty slippers, and that tried-and-true pair of sweats—or hyggebukser, as the Danish call them (translation: those pants you’d never be caught dead in outside the house). Grab your laptop, notebooks, pens, and a stack of books, light some candles, and settle into your hyggekrog (Danish for cozy little hygge nook).
Go ahead. Bury your nose in that book.
Sometimes I feel guilty taking time to myself to write and read, but it’s so important to develop your voice, writing craft, and stay updated with what’s going on in the industry. With hygge, it’s okay to lose yourself in a good book or your writing while you rework a scene, and you can do it while drinking copious mugs of coffee and whole kettles of tea. Set some time to enjoy quiet productivity, take in your surroundings, and explore new worlds through your writing and the stories of others.
Eat, drink, and be hygge.
I’ve taken up cooking, more as a necessity than a flight of hygge-inspired bliss. I have children, and funny thing about kids is that they like to be fed. I dreaded cooking and food shopping, but I’m now finding joy and satisfaction in finding fresh, healthy ingredients and trying new concoctions. I also find it easy to read and jot down some thoughts while something is cooking. It is found time in my busy schedule.
So this is what sunshine feels like.
Like many writers, I tend to glue myself to my desk and stay indoors. When I get stuck, sometimes I need to shake things up, take a walk to the village, hike a trail, or go to the lake for a swim. Movement and connecting with nature are great ways to stir ideas. Take everything in. Listen and observe with all the senses, and then write about it.
Let’s face it. Sometimes life does get in the way, and it should.
Children grow up fast. Parents get older. Relationships change. Real person-to-person connections take nurturing. It feels good to close your laptop and disconnect now and then. Re-connect with friends, family, and other writers. Meet for coffee, browse a favorite bookstore, join a writing groups or organization. Meet people face to face, not just through text messages, hashtags, and liking people’s posts. As a writer, we need to interact with others and observe people—it nurtures better writing, story building, and character development.
Simplify. Unplug. Savor every moment you can. Then, jump back onto your laptop, and write, write, write!