I (usually) don't enjoy writing.

1:20 PM

I often listen to other writers talk about writing, and how much they love it, how it's their favorite thing to do, and how their dream day would involve writing from dawn until dusk. It sounds wonderful, emotional and inspiring, but I've come to understand that that is just not the way I work.

I used to think that I had to have "inspiration" in order to write, and that the timing had to be "perfect." I had to be in the right frame-of-mind, be bursting with passion and creativity... basically, I had to feel it. I had to want to write. I determined that the only time that I was in this "mood" was at night, at about eight o'clock on, and I refused to write so much as a word of my stories at any other time. I was terrified of jinxing it, of breaking up the flow, of writing a single sentence that was less than 100% inspired.

Throughout that entire period (most of my teen years), I would have bursts of inspiration where I would write and write and write... thousands of words, feeling brilliant, strong and unstoppable. And then I would hit a dry spell, where I just couldn't bring my fingers to keyboard, because I was uninspired, and the words just wouldn't measure up to my standard. That was "writer's block," and it hit me hard, sometimes keeping me away from my stories for months on end, because the mood wasn't right.

When I finally got serious about writing, decided I wanted it as a career, and was determined to make it happen, I threw my feelings out the window. I told myself that I must write, whether I wanted to or not. At first, the important thing was just to write something each day, even if it was only a few sentences. Then I raised the bar, and forced myself to make it a minimum of 500 words a day, 5 days a week, regardless of the time of day, regardless of inspiration. If I missed a day, I had to make it up.

It worked. Somehow, I turned writing into a habit, something that I could do without even thinking about it, without feeling inspired, without loving it. It became a part of my life, every day. A few years later, I am happy to say I am more productive with that slow and steady method than with all the highs and lows of inspiration and lack thereof. And the process has become addicting, exciting, and more rewarding than I ever thought it could.

So, do I usually enjoy writing? Not usually. (Don't get me wrong, there are still times of inspiration and emotion, but the cold, hard, pounding-out-the-words is the usual daily routine.) But that's ok. When I've got that finished manuscript in my hands (or on a computer screen); when I revisit the thousands of words that somehow, unbelievably, came from my own brain; when I get to share those words with others, hear their praise and critiques... it's the best experience in the world. And it's worth the days of feeling no emotion for that one, satisfying, emotional conclusion.

Do you enjoy writing? How does the writing process work for you? Is there lots of inspiration or do you just put in the hours? Obviously, there are no rules and the writing process is different for everyone, so just because something works for me, doesn't mean it will work for you. But it might. ;)

I'm curious. Tell me, what does work for you?

-Amanda

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