Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

On Not Writing

For those of you, whose internal slave driver tends to force you to the keyboard with a liberal dose of the cat-o'-nine-tails:   

I think of myself as a writer, so this is a tough confession to make: I haven't been writing new fiction for close to four months now. There are plenty of reasons (good, bad, and ugly). The trouble at heart, however, was that fiction writing was becoming all-work, no-fun, and if there was one thing I didn't need more of, it was work. So I took a break from writing.

It wasn't easy to go against all the good advice on writing that says 'write, write, write'. Writing is definitely a trade where constant practice is crucial to improving, and I've always wanted to be good at what I'm doing. But suddenly I was no longer working, improving, or jotting ideas down, and I certainly wasn't getting any new stories published. I kept feeling that I really, really should be following the straight road to publication by writing, writing, writing.

Except, I wasn't having any fun. At all. Stopping was the only logical solution.

After a good deal of struggling with my conscience, I discovered that NOT writing was a load off my shoulders, a ball and chain off my leg, a lift on a long deserted highway of unlucky hitchhiking. (Note to self: Work on metaphors...) Better yet, I gradually started longing to get back to the keyboard to pound out new ideas or nurse stories to life from half-dead drafts. At first I ignored the calling, but in the last three weeks or so I've returned to the keyboard again and again -- and liked it. Things are moving slowly compared to my pre-break writing speed, but I sure score higher on the fun-scale.

So, for anyone looking for alternatives to the conventional wisdom of 'a writer writes, always', Drud's first rule of writing goes like this: Fiction writing should always be at least a little fun, and preferably a lot.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 11th, 2009 09:22 am (UTC)
Good rule!
Mar. 11th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah. And it works :-) (for me, at the moment, at least).
Mar. 11th, 2009 10:18 am (UTC)
Absolutely agree!

If I try to write when I'm over-tired due to the day-job, or I'm unwell, or my motivation has headed south for some reason, the results are invariably dreadful.

"Write as often as you can" would be a better rule. But who needs rules?
Mar. 11th, 2009 12:54 pm (UTC)
In a way I might have taken one of those "write-write-write" rules and remembered Cherryh's first law ("No rule should be followed off a cliff.")

I put it like this because I think most people are able to forcethemselves into doing something because they MUST. In the end that'll cost you, as I discovered, so for this rule I wanted to emphasize fun rather than productivity.

But yeah, I doubt any amount of rules is ever going to streamline the process of fiction writing for any writer.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 11th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
It works for me too :-) There were some other personal issues to set right as well, so all in all a break was a really good thing.
Mar. 11th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
This was my post-WOTF finalist experience as well. I didn't take such a break from writing per say, it's just that everyone I wrote suffered. My skills I'd garnered up to that point all went out the window. The "muse" is a harsh mistress...
Mar. 12th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
Yes, it's remarkable how lack of enthusiasm shows up in a story. My characters don't suffer as such, but the plots I come up with invariably turn out to be predictable. I guess it takes a certain amount of energy to juggle plot, characters and worldbuilding at the same time.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Author Pic

Latest Month

August 2015


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow