I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’m going with my writing of late. Thinking, not doing. There have been no new words on my WIP for over three weeks now. It was a conscious decision to stop. I wasn’t happy with anything coming out, had been writing every scene twice, and finally reached the conclusion that something was wrong.
When I realised what it was I despaired a bit, and that was when I decided
maybe I should just give the whole thing up to take a break.
Holly Lisle‘s mantra is “Write with joy” and every time I read that, something deep inside me kindles. Yes! Although I am a rather slow and methodical writer, I do love those moments when the words flow at a steady rate and combine to achieve — or perhaps even exceed — my original vision.
And those marvellous moments when a kernel of something new and unplanned manifests and the unlooked-for idea is good. At such times, writing is a joyous process, and my dream and ambition are huge.
But, before I fool myself into believing that such ideal conditions are mandatory for writing, I must remind myself that writers write, no matter how little they feel like it, and experts will tell me it’s rare that professional writers can tell, later, what their state of mind was when they wrote something.
“Write with joy” must have a broader meaning then — excitement about your project, love for your characters, passion for the story you’re trying to tell. Even if you’re having an off day, those things remain the foundations of your WIP and will ensure the joy shines through.
It was when I realised the joy of my current WIP had left me that I decided to take a break.
Being on hiatus has given me time to ponder. Maybe I should write a short story and attempt publication? A small taste of success in that field could rekindle the self-confidence if nothing else. Or maybe I should stop thinking about writing a middle-grade story for my nieces and nephews to enjoy and actually do it. Why not? What’s stopping me?
Or maybe I should just rediscover the love for my current WIP — spend the time isolating what it was that inspired and excited me in the first place, work on the characters (where the main problem lies I think), and push gently ahead.
A couple of blog posts that present interesting — and fabulous — perspectives on the creativity process came to my attention today. One is Writers going boldly, by James Scott Bell, which presents the late Ray Bradbury’s example of writing with joy by allowing himself the freedom of simply following his imagination every day.
The second is Playmore Fearless, by Erik Wahl, which talks about the unpredictability of the creative process, about how art needs time and space to just ‘be’, with reference to Van Gogh’s Irises, which was only ever intended to be a study.
Both these posts have reminded me that I need to give my own creative process some time and space, to take the pressure off myself. Instead of writing to meet a whole lot of worthy criteria, I need to have fun.
Dammit, I’m gonna get me some FUN!
What about you? Anyone else in need of a little more fun in their process?