Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Writing is Work - Not Pleasure

Happy June! I hope you all are enjoying some of the longest days of the year. It's been light out until 9 p.m. here recently!

I am nine days a week late, but I hit my 1-year blogversary! I can't believe it's been a year of blogging, and I'm proud of myself for keeping up a somewhat consistent pace. I give credit to the prolific bloggers out there who generate content multiple times a week. Expanding your network. Coming up with post ideas. Blogging's hard work! And so is writing.

Over the past few weeks, I've been changing my attitude towards writing. Maybe it's an attitude I've always had but have tucked away, not wanting to admit. I realized that writing is work -- hard work -- and not pleasure. It's not meant to be fun. And that's where I think many aspiring writers stumble.

Some people who are interested in writing think of it as a fun side hobby, a creative release in their lives. They look forward to that time of day when they can sit down and write. But when they do get to writing, and are blocked or the words aren't flowing, they give up. That's because they have the wrong mindset. When you want to do something for pleasure, you don't expect it to be hard. Reading, watching TV, going to the beach. There's nothing difficult in those hobbies. Writing can be difficult, and it can catch people off guard. More intense hobbies like playing an instrument, arts and crafts projects, or crossword puzzles may require extra effort, but they don't have stakes. It's still low stress level. Most people aren't practicing guitar to try to snag a record deal. They aren't beading necklaces in order to start their own jewelry line. These are generalizations, but there are less people doing those hobbies with professional aspirations than there are writers who have hopes of book deals.

When I sit down to write, I have to remind myself that this may not be fun, especially when I edit. I need to stop setting up false expectations for myself that writing will always be a pleasurable escape. I am working, just like I would be at my job. Of course I enjoy writing or else I wouldn't stick with it, but that doesn't mean it will be fun all the time. It's just like any job. There are good days and bad days, but if you have a frustrating day at work, you aren't going to skip the rest of the week. You slug through it. The fun high of writing can wear off when you are deep into a project everyday. So now when I make time to write, I know that it's for work, not pleasure. I'm not duping myself any longer. It will be tough. It will be frustrating. But like anything that requires hard work, it will ultimately be rewarding.

What is your attitude when you approach writing?