Primrose heart
Writing

for the love

Since the New Year my writing has been going well. I’m almost afraid to type these words, as if it will cause the mysterious writing Genie that is my current companion and comic sidekick to disappear in a puff of multi-coloured smoke with a final sarcastic bon mot.

This is ridiculous, of course, but yet I hesitate to tell people that I’m writing, meeting deadlines, ideas are flowing, and projects are being fleshed out. I should be celebrating this fact. Yet, sometimes I live in the fear that it will vanish. So part of what’s keeping me on track is the desire to tap into this creative spurt and to write for as long as it lasts.

Paranoia aside, I have a practical reason why I’ve been more productive, and it’s partly to do with the personal insight I had about self-motivation a number of weeks ago.

Now, when I sit down to write I do so with no expectations. The only objective is to write. I remove all pressure of page count, producing top-notch prose, etc. at the beginning.

I engage a soft goal after I am writing. It could be to finish the page, then that might become to complete the scene, and once the flow is strong and hot I might kick it into high gear and push myself to obtain a certain amount of words or pages and to hell with all distractions.

The idea is to work with the creative impulse, and not against it. Anything that might hinder it is discarded. This means I aim not to second guess myself as I’m writing, especially for a first draft.

Even if I only complete a page or two I’ve learned to celebrate it, rather than lash myself for not producing more. If the objective is to write, then no matter how many words I produce I am meeting my objective. A page of words is better than nothing.

I’m also learning when I write best (later in the day), and moving my schedule around to facilitate that, while trying to be creative as often as possible. I’m also working with different projects, so that I’m moving from short stories, to scripts, and back again, while also writing self-reflexive posts such as this. I’m taking one day off a week from creative writing (I write, but not fiction). This is not easy for me, actually, but it makes practical sense, and if I’m working well then I feel like I deserve it.

Now, here’s the important part:

I love to write.

Nothing makes me happier than when I’m inventing worlds, characters, scenarios, and situations. Sure it can be a tough and frustrating occupation at times, but that’s to be expected when the endeavour comes from the heart. I’d like to sell my work eventually, but the prime motivation is:

I love to write.

A survey went around on a bunch of journals, and one of the questions was: what would you do if you couldn’t work in the industry?

I realised, after pondering this question, that my answer is: there is no other option. This is what I want to do, body and soul, and even if I never make a cent from it I will continue to write. Despite the rejections, the self-doubt, and the criticism.

I love to write.

It doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned ambition, or I don’t have a strategy for my work, but my focus is on writing first and foremost.

Everything after that is gravy.

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