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This Is How I Hygge: Danish Coziness for the Writer

March 17, 2017

By Shawn Thomas Anderson

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.”

Hello, my name is 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 or a stack of books, light some candles, and settle into your hyggekrog (Danish for your 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 craft. With hygge, it’s okay to lose yourself in a good book (or writing 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, 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’m newly single and 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 recipes. Making soups and stews, Roasting vegetables, inventing new smoothie combos — they are as comfy and fulfilling to make as they are to eat and drink.

Ooooo, 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, walk a trail, or go to the lake for a swim. Movement and connecting with nature is a great way to stir ideas. Take everything in. Listen and observe with all the senses, and then write about it.

Let’s face it. Sometimes life gets 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 get offline 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 messages, profiles, and posts. As a writer, we need to interact with others and observe people.

Simplify. Unplug. Savor every moment. And write, write, write!


Shawn Thomas Anderson is a copywriter and brand specialist by day, writer of young-adult and middle-grade fiction by night, early morning, and whenever he can find the time to get the words written down. He loves writing short stories and has published several in various anthologies. Shawn attended the University of Vermont undergrad, and has his master’s degree in Communications and Integrated Marketing from Emerson College in Boston.

He lives a far-flung corner of the state known as Northeast Kingdom. It’s a magical place where moose, bear, and deer wander through your backyard, and everyone rocks flannel. It’s a great place to work, raise children, and write, write, write.

Follow Shawn on Twitter at @ShawnTWrites and check out his website at shawnthomasanderson.com