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?


  1. Writing is hard work. I agree with you. When I read, I do it as a writer, analyzing the words and learning something about the craft. In both cases, I do have fun working hard. June is a good month to write. The long days bring additional energy. Have fun.

  2. And happy birthday to your blog!

  3. When I actually write, I really enjoy it. I rarely experience any kind of blockage, but I have a pretty comprehensive outline that shows me where my story is going. The must unenjoyable part are the reviews and the marketing and the negative criticism. That sucks the life out of me.

    Happy blogoversary. It's a milestone for sure.

  4. I'm about the same. When I actually write, I really enjoy it. But there are times that I don't, and when I don't, it's a major struggle to complete it.

    Case in point. I spent the better part of this year forcing myself to complete a novella that I had started while I was querying my upcoming novel. After I had sold it and got to thinking about a few trunk novels that I could work on that were similar, it got to be really difficult to finish the novella. When I finally got it done, it felt like a heavy weight was lifted off my back.

    However, the second I started on a rewrite for an old story, the enthusiam that was there for my debut novel reappeared for this one.

  5. It really isn't pleasurable at some points. *cough* Editing. *cough* But it's certainly worth it when you find yourself tearing through a chapter because your fingers just have to type out all your thoughts on the page. Those are the times I live for in writing!

  6. That's an important step to take - realizing that it's a JOB that requires WORK. Once you master that, clear that mental hurdle that says you must work hard, every day, to achieve what you want, I hope you can find a way to have fun with it. It is meant to be pleasureable, and I hope you can find the pleasure even in the difficulty, in the hard sweat of accomplishment. :)

    1. So true. Writing is work, but the most pleasurable part is achieving my goal -- and when I read something I wrote and realize 'hey, this doesn't totally suck!'

      Hope you are and your family weren't affected by the storm that rolled through last weekend and are surviving this never-ending heatwave!

  7. I totally agree. I think with any job, even those you love with a passion, it is still a job. A job is work and thinking of it that way sets apart those who do it as a hobby as opposed to doing it for more:)
    Congrats on your blogoversary!!!!