Where Personal and Professional Life Collide...

My life in 8 words: Organized chaos, by preference. Exhausting, but never boring

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on writing, the blahs, and dealing with it.
citron presse
suricattus
This was originally posted in response to a thread elsewhere, but I decided it was worth reposting here, since it's something I've had to deal with more than once along the way, and it might be useful to folk reading here.

The origin discussion was about having the blahs and fuckits when writing. Someone opined that if it's not fun, you should stop. I respectfully disagreed, as follows.
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I wish I could agree with that but... I can't.

Yes, writing is enjoyable. Especially when it's going well, and you feel like a creative goddess. When it's not, it's a damned agony and annoyance and general feh and meh.

That's exactly when you can't give up. Because the writing hasn't changed. The goal -- to produce a story that has impact and effect -- hasn't changed. It's just that it's a tougher slog right now than when things are going well, for whatever reason, and that's going to feed the bad mood you started in, into a possible downward cycle.

Stopping won't stop the cycle, though. It will just make you feel like crap for giving up.

So what do you do? You forgive yourself for lack of progress... and then keep going. Write crap. Forgive yourself for writing crap. Write a rant about the crap you're writing. Write long notes in other peoples' LJs so that your fingers don't lose the familiarity of keyboarding. Send e-mails or letters to people you haven't written to in a while. Somewhre in there the love of words and of communicating will come back to you, and the storytelling will come back, and the fuckits will eventually disappear.

(That's my theory, anyway. Here's hoping...)

But don't ever, ever think that writing has to be fun. Because a lot of the time, it's not. It's what we do, it's what we love, but it's not always fun.

YMMV, natch.

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Heaer, hear, with big fat bells on.

And it's the folk who suck it up and soldier on, through the boggy ground, that are the pros. If you're a pro you don't have any other choice!

And it's the folk who suck it up and soldier on, through the boggy ground, that are the pros

And said pro-dom has nothing whatsoever to do with if you're under contract or getting a check for your work, a point I've tried to drive home for years. The moment you start acting professionally, then you're a pro (and likewise, some people who are paid will never be professional, but that's a whole 'nother rant...)

The goal -- to produce a story that has impact and effect -- hasn't changed.

I have found, in both writing and sewing, that the only fun part is at the end, when you get to say "Yes, I made that and it's what I wanted to make." Getting there is often half the hell... it's believing in the end product, not the process that keeps me going.

I sooo agree with this. I have always said that I adore having written, but that I hate writing!

oh, I love writing -- even when it's crap and meh, the love is there. It just sometimes feels like an abusive relationship. *wryness*


Brava. Well said. A good reminder that writing is, y'know, work. When you're a professional in a field, not every day is going to be skittles and beer....

Right on. It's what we do.

Someone opined that if it's not fun, you should stop.

I don't know--- there's something about that mentality that makes my eyes all squinty and face all twitchy... like, "You say that because you don't get it, do you?"

I don't think I ever entered into the writing arena with the notion of "this will be fun." Certainly there have been fun moments but as you (and everyone else who gives a damn about it) have always said: writing is work.

Especially when it's going well, and you feel like a creative goddess.
...shhh don't ever let anyone else know that I do what I do because it sets free my inner goddessness :P

...shhh don't ever let anyone else know that I do what I do because it sets free my inner goddessness :P

Oh. was that supposed to be a secret? Oooops....

I think i may print this post out tomorrow at work. It's a good reminder for me when I'm feeling like shit about my writing...

Thanks!

yer welcome!

(everyone has a bad day at the job. Sometimes even a bad month. Being honest about the whys and whens is part of getting through it.)

Taking an afternoon off and getting a pedicure or a hot stone massage also works wonders...

well, only if:

a) you like those things and
b) it doesn't impact your budget to the point where you're more stressed than before...

(but the idea of treating yourself well rather than punishing yourself is a valid and healthy one, yes. You're not BAD because you're feeling meh about the whole thing. You're human. Shock to the system tho that may be.)

Um, a) is fairly obvious. I'm damned if I'm adding "YMMV" after every option; consider that implicit in every option I offer about anything, anywhere, ever.

AKA "whatever floats your boat as a rest break".

(Deleted comment)
This is our job. This is our work and livelihood. There are few joys like that of writing a sentence that you know sings and soars. (And you still think that, when you see it in print later).

That said, some folk fall in love with the idea of writing, or write as personal therapy. There is no psychic law that states "you must be a writer" except in one's own soul. Sometimes, it takes courage to realize that being a writer is not what you need to be. That's not a sin, it's not a failure. It might be a truth.


IMHO, that is the very definition of professional. Any amateur can write when they feel like it. It's when you do the work and it's not so much fun that you're a pro. But I also think that might be because to do the work without inspiration requires knowing the craft.


Couldn't agree more. You've hit the nail right on the head.

All in the game, huh?
Dag, I was hoping for a secret handshake.
What good ARE you people? ;)

This made me feel so much better as I slog through some bad sentences today. Thank you!

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