Thursday, 10 March 2016
It's Supposed To Be Fun, Right? - The Creative Process
It's Supposed To Be Fun, Right?
One of the most important parts of being a writer is that you should be enjoying yourself. At least, that's the important part of being a writer for me. I may find some parts of it less enjoyable, such as editing - that's never a fun part for me - but there isn't any part of writing that I don't draw some enjoyment from. Yes, even editing has it's fun hidden deep down in there somewhere. You just have to look really hard for it!
The one thing I always told myself, back when I was nineteen and first starting my writer career, was that when it stopped being fun, I would stop doing it. I always felt like I had a whole heap of stories trapped inside me. Picking up a pen that first time and releasing one and then another felt more natural than keeping them locked inside. I have spoken to several people in the past few weeks as I continue to pull myself out of my recent depression, and they all say the same thing: when I'm talking about my books, or my writing, my facial expression and voice change and it shows that I am pretty much living my dream right now. Writing is, basically, my passion.
So what happens when you don't find it fun anymore? What happens when, if you're like me, you hit the down of living with depression and other mental health conditions? How do I judge when it stops being fun completely and when I need to put the pen down and find a different outlet for my passion? It's all about finding balance in your life. There has to be a line between the work and the play aspect of it all. I know that sometimes I find it a lot easier to unwind if I can read a good book, but while I agree with the advice that every writer should read a lot, for some people that becomes too much of the "work" and less of the pleasure. I've been lucky enough that it has never crossed that line for me, but I know some writers find they need to break away completely from the written world of fiction.
It's true that as an indie author, I have to wear a lot of hats (a piece about which can be found here) and because of that, I don't spend all my work time actually writing. I have admin duties, like e-mailing people asking for reviews, contacting other authors about guest blog posts and interviews. I have to play the part of the artist (not one of my strong suits) where I design graphics for my blog and other places that I post. While I don't have the talent to design my covers (my best friend and carer B does that) and I don't have the talent to design my logo (a friend's husband did that), I do find that I have a number of other duties. I review other author's work, which cuts into my own reading time, but thankfully I'm lucky enough to enjoy reading a wide range of genres. There's other small jobs that I have to do, like finding my own editing team. There's also the organisation of promotions, making sure they reach the readers interested in my work. I could go on, but that isn't the point of this post.
I find that there are a lot of times when I look at the blank page of a new chapter and feel the tug of the other jobs I have to do. If you've seen my Instagram, you know that I use the sticky notes on my PC to map out what jobs I have to do during the day. I'm an organised person and while it does serve me well in my writing career, it can have its drawbacks. I don't know about you, but when I click on my desktop and see all these things I have to do staring back at me, in the wrong mood, it can have the opposite effect. It can sap the fun away from writing, so why do it?
I've been clear in the past that one of the many reasons I'm indie is because I don't do well with deadlines and extra stress (pieces found here & here). So why do I set my own deadlines, and put myself through that stress anyway? It's simple, even a train moving on its own towards the goal needs a little push every now and then. Even though they're not solid deadlines, and no one is going to yell at me if I miss them, I still find that the majority of the time, they work at keeping me motivated and keeping the writing on target without sucking out the fun of the job. After all, if you can't have fun when creating from nothing, when can you?
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