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At this time last year I played at being a writer. I wrote for fun, with only vague expectations of submitting a story “someday”. Now I have a book that will be coming out in a few months, and I have other books planned for the series. I have no obligation to write more, but I want to.  Those characters need to have their stories told too. Last March and April I could hardly wait to get home from work so I could write. I spent too much time at my desk at work mentally writing scenes.  I wrote 75,000 words in 6 weeks. I absolutely was driven to write. And I loved it!

But now I have to FORCE myself to write. It’s like I’ve lost the joy of writing. It’s not Writer’s Block. I know the story I’m telling (occasionally my characters throw me for a loop, but still, I know what main events have to happen to tell the story) but I have to force myself to sit at the computer for hours to write a measly 500 words. Where has my joy and drive gone?

Maybe every writer goes through a phase like this. What was once a delight, a mere hobby for fun, has become a job. And I already have a job, monday through friday, from 7am-3:30 pm (unless we’re on overtime, which happens regularly. In fact, overtime starts again this coming week and goes through Christmas) I don’t have to write to support myself. Plus I have other hobbies like reading, knitting and spinning, costuming and the SCA to fill my free time. Writing is no longer one of those hobbies that I can do when I feel like it or abandon for something else.  Except, that it could be that again if I wanted. I have no contract for the sequels, no obligations. I could, if I chose, go back to being a hobbyist. But the very thought of that makes me rear up and say: No! I want to share my stories. I want to keep being published. Not just for the money, although I’m looking forward to the royalty checks, but because I want people to read my stories. I want to make lots of money for my publisher and myself.  But even more I want people to find a little escape through my writing.

Over on Romance Divas there is a thread where several successful authors have posted about how many books and novellas and short stories they have coming out this year and in 2011, and I simply stand in awe and envy.  Envy because they keep selling their stories, and awe because wow! how do they do it? A couple have said that they have contracts to fulfill and deadlines to meet, so they have to write so prolifically, but that next year they are slowing down so they can have some times for their families and themselves. I don’t ever want to get to the point that I have no time for anything but writing. But I hope I get past this feeling that writing is a chore.

This is why writing ain’t for pansies. It is work. Sometimes it is hard grinding work with nothing to show for it. Do other writers ever think about giving it up? Sometimes a story flows out of me like water from a wide open  faucet. Some times the story is  forced out of a clogged faucet in drips and drabs. It takes longer to write that way, but at least it’s writing. I’m not quitting. I just hope I’ll find my enthusiasm and joy again. Soon.

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