Sometimes it’s OK to just enjoy writing. Scratch that. It’s best if that’s what it’s all about. It’s easy you see to get caught up in the fever of trying to get published. You start reading twelve agent blogs, start reading endless query samples, checking out whom has been published and for how much, scrutinize your current work and try to imagine how far it will get – and sort of forget about the pleasure you’re supposed to derive from just sitting down and making stuff up.
I just finished re-reading Jim Butcher’s White Night. It was really, really good. You know all those buzz words you read on jacket covers but ignore, such as ‘compulsively readable’ and ‘gripping’? Well, White Night was all of those, but most of all it was just a ton of fun. What’s more, you can tell that Jim Butcher had a lot of fun writing it. That he was just sitting there rubbing his hands with glee, carefully plotting and squinting his eyes as he imagined his novel, composing it with joy and abandon, putting something down on paper that he would have a blast writing.
For the past few years I’ve been thinking in terms of ‘getting published’. Write a novel that will make the grade. Put together something that will fit market demands (whatever those are), that will be tightly plotted and fun and all the rest of it. All good stuff, but it feels now as if I was putting the cart ahead of the horse. Worrying about whether it was good enough even as I wrote it.
In effect, that’s what threw the writing block I’ve been laboring under for the past few weeks at me–I hit a juncture where I didn’t know what to write next that was good enough. So I stopped, and the book just sat there, leaching itself of all momentum and fun. Finally I picked up White Night as a form of medication, and burn me if it didn’t get me going again.
Because Jim’s story telling was so much fun, it simply made me want to enjoy myself again while writing.
So I’m making a new resolution. I’m not going to ache and yearn for the stars with this one, but simply write it, enjoy the process, and then stick it on the shelf for a few months before coming back to it.
And I’m going to segue straight into my next novel, and I’m going to focus on having fun writing that, with zero expectations of getting published. And on and on, with the goal being to enjoy myself.
Btw, I’ve registered http://www.firstmillionwords.com . Check in there on January 1st for my first 2700 words or so.