Do I Enjoy Writing?

keep-calm-and-enjoy-writing-your-story-1This is a good question. It sounds quite straightforward at first, my obvious answer is, ‘hell yeah’, but is that really true. The idea of writing for a living is my dream, but I’m not there yet. The dream is as strong as it’s always been but that’s exactly what it still is, a dream.

The day in/day out grind of writing words that somehow make some kind of a cohesive message is another thing altogether. When I’m in that beautiful moment of flow that we all talk about, that’s when I enjoy writing but if I’m being honest, that doesn’t happen as soon as I sit down at the keyboard. So, for this post I’m going to detail some of the frustrations I have with writing.

Never Enough

Frustration comes from a false expectation of what you can realistically achieve. If all you ever want to do is write one sentence a day then you’ll be the happiest writer in the world. I can’t be like that. I want to create books, I want to create them now, I want a library of my stories all standing proudly on the shelf, spines out, and bloody tonnes of them.

Now, I know that the zen way of  looking at this is ‘the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step’ and I write blog posts to reaffirm this to everyone else, but… practising what you preach is another thing altogether. I want to produce more books and I can’t get away from that, and so every time my current project stalls or wastes time, it eats away at me.

Chasing The Perfect Process

I write posts on this blog about how I approach a story. I’ve gone from one extreme to the other but I still make the same mistakes whichever way I go at it. The common frustration comes from having to rewrite due to an eleventh hour plot change. If you’ve planned a book, surely this shouldn’t happen, but it does. One area that I need to improve on as a writer is planning a story more thoroughly and therefore more efficiently.

What To Do Next?

There are too many options. Each one will be a significant investment of time so I need to choose correctly. I could write a series, or another novel, what about a screenplay, or a stage play. Maybe I’ll test out a short story, or a pilot novella? The problem with self-publishing is the same as the key benefit… Freedom of Choice. Without anyone governing what I should do and when, I’m left to mull these things over. I’m actually quite a decisive person usually, I make knee-jerk decisions continually but the timeframe for this question means I have time to double-back and reconsider.

Marketing

Given my above frustrations regarding productivity, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that I never have enough time to concentrate on marketing. I have to write more, how can I use up a day doing other stuff?

Distraction

I’m referring to the distractions of life, not distractions when I’m at my desk. Working from home is flexible, you can make appointments whenever you need to, but as soon as you break your flow you’ve pretty much lost a day of writing. I’ve found that if I’m called away for half an hour, I can lose as much as two hours writing time. Given the above frustrations, I end up becoming this frantic lunatic at these appointments, and that frustrates me because I’m usually quite a laid back chap.

Isolation

Writing is lonely. It can’t be anything else, really. You have to get into your own world and you have to stay in there. When the words flow it’s great, you don’t want to come out, but when you do come out I feel as though I need a period of de-pressurising. I can’t really communicate properly because my head’s somewhere else.

So, when I’m asked the question, ‘do I enjoy writing?’ you see why actually it’s not such the no-brainer you thought it was. It’s full of frustration, all coming from different angles, once you’ve defeated one source, it comes up from another place. It’s a constant battle. ‘The War of Art’ is a great book by Steven Pressfield which covers this idea, I’ve read it, but it still doesn’t make me a master, it just makes me aware of the war.

So, my answer is that I do enjoy the writing, but the frustration caused by the goals I want to achieve means that I can never enjoy it for long. Hopefully, as I achieve the goals, I’ll feel less frustrated and happiness will follow.

Until next time…

7 responses to “Do I Enjoy Writing?

  1. We’re allowed to not enjoy it all the time?? Oh, thank God.

    Have experienced pretty much all of what you’ve said. Constantly feel up and down about it as I never seem to have enough time, skill, patience, skill, money or skill to do all the things I need to do.

    Setting out a 5 year plan has helped. When I feel like that I sit back and look at the bigger picture. See how far(ish) I’ve come. Might help. Might make you more depressed :-)

  2. this is so worth reflagging – and sharing with all my thesis students :)

  3. why oh why does Apple autocorrect insist on turning “reblogging” into “reflagging”?

  4. Reblogged this on Makere's Blog and commented:
    Ah…. LOTS here to relate to.. indeed yes..

  5. All things creative take a different type of energy and attention than
    the energy we use undertaking any other kind of activity. I suppose frustration is part of the creative process and trying to bind that process by time must surely just increase the frustration. I wonder if using your strengths of organisation and motivation to manage your creative time would help? You possibly do this already……..block out exclusively the writing hours of your day, just like going to work in a normal time-constrained job. I appreciate that in a regular job there are still plenty of distractions but it’s usually possible to manage them and, anyway, those distractions are related to the job.
    Maybe you have to merge a much more formal structure to your day with the acceptance that creativity is hard, is frustrating and that because of this you must NOT get distracted or interrupted during the hours blocked out for writing? Marketing etc is an essential part of the BUSINESS but it’s not the creative part, so block those tasks into a different section of the day. OK, it might mean that the hours devoted to pure creative writing are shorter but I would have thought that those hours would be more satisfyingly productive.

    What do I know?I just write a rambling blog about once a week, occasionally
    daub paint onto paper, grow vegetables and flowers and binge cook, all in a totally deconstructed and haphazard way so I know nussing!
    I DO know that your trying too hard……..hence the frustration…….that’s called creative process!

    • Thanks for this Mrs RC. I am trying too hard but then, I have to, don’t I? I’ve learnt to become more structured, more professional and devote certain hours to certain activities but, at the end of the day, I’d need a Delorean time machine to be able to produce what I want to.

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