Do you enjoy writing?
Believe it or not, my primary reason for writing is not enjoyment. But I suspect that I’m not alone in that. History is littered with tortured writers, as those for whom writing is a party. Where do you fit in the spectrum?
Writing is hard going
Here’s some quotes for you:
Every writer I know has trouble writing.
Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
I do not like to write – I like to have written.
A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
Writing is difficult. Im not even talking about writing well. Writing consistently is hard enough. Writer’s block and the fear of the blank page are well-documented horrors, as are trawling through page after page of copy to edit, and the dreaded redrafts (or rewrites). There seems to be a culture of writers feeling like crap – insecure, tortured souls at the mercy of their craft.
So why do it?
If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.
The writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself; the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratification, is a curious anticlimax.
Let’s not get maudlin though. There is also a culture of inspiration, riding the rollercoaster of creativity with your muse at your side; of enthusiasm and passion. Al these things are reasons to enjoy writing of course, but it can’t be denied that there are certainly times where the thrill has escaped us. So what keeps us going at these times?
Compulsion, I think is the answer for some people. Even if writing makes them unhappy (at times), some would be unhappier still without it (my own reasons are similar to this), or at least feel the hole in their lives. Others feel they have something to give to the world, or something specific to say. Maybe it’s something that they always did – a family tradition. If someone out there has there own interesting reasons for writing, I’d love to hear them.
Do I Enjoy Writing?
All this is not to say that I don’t enjoy writing myself. I do. But there are conditions, and it’s kind of a love/hate thing.
When I’m into it, when I’m in the “flow” of writing, and the words are coming easily, I enjoy it. That’s rarer and rarer, as I don’t spend huge chunks of time writing. Mostly it’s time grabbed here and there.
When I’m in the midst of editing I also enjoy it. Chiseling away at words is very gratifying.
When I look back on a week and the word count is reasonable, I enjoy it; when it’s higher than average, I’m extremely satisfied. This is certainly attainable, and is what my writing mind lives for in lieu of long periods of writing flow.
But I’m vey stop/start (still. STILL!) and what I hate is that period of trying to get back into it. That period can be prolonged – over weeks, even if my reason for pausing in the first place was slight.
I hate knowing that I’ve got to try and get into something I haven’t touched in a while, or put all those notes I’ve made into practice, or start something from scratch. Those periods of starting or restarting are painful, and it’s then that I wonder if it might be easier to pack it all in (and, let’s face it, before i’ve even got started).
Don’t worry, I’m not going all tortured artist on you. I’m fully aware how easily such problems are solved (bloody get on with it). And with practice, those moments will get easier (right?) but in the meantime, grrr, they’re frustrating!
Do You Enjoy Writing?
There, that feels a lot better. Now that I’ve got that off my chest I will open the floor for people to do the same. Or you can show off about how writing spins you into a whirl of ecstasy, you lucky lucky thing!