Hello, friends! Welcome to this month’s meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a group that supports writers who might feel a little insecure about their writing. If you’d like to learn more about IWSG and see a list of participating blogs, click here.
This may be one of the hardest thing for people to understand: sometimes, two mutually contradictory statements can both be true. Here’s an example. I love writing. Also, I hate writing. Let me unpack what I mean.
First off, I really do love writing. It’s the single greatest source of joy and pleasure in my life. Being something of an ethical hedonist, I’ve been trying for years now to maximize the joys and pleasures of my life. In other words, I’ve been trying to squeeze more writing time into my schedule (as well as more time for other sources of personal joy, like drawing and reading).
In order to keep maximizing my writing time, I’ve slowly been transitioning from writing as a hobby to writing as a career. But (this is the tricky part) if writing is my job now, if I’m not writing purely for my own amusement anymore, then I have to set a production schedule. I have to deal with word count quotas and deadlines and other boring stuff like that.
And when I’m up against a deadline (self-imposed or otherwise), it tends to stunt my creativity and spoil my fun. Writing starts to feel like a chore. I am not at my writerly best when writing feels like a chore. I don’t want to do it anymore. All of a sudden, I hate writing.
It really are the deadlines that ruin writing for me. Case in point: I’m writing this IWSG post well in advance of IWSG day, rather than scrambling to get it done the night before. And I feel like this is turning out to be a much more expressive and honest post than what I typically write for IWSG. Or at least, I feel a lot happier with this post than I normally do.
But if I want to make a career out of writing (and I do!), then I will have to learn to accept the bad with the good. I have to learn to live with this tension in my writing life: I love writing, and also I hate writing. I’m not really looking for advice here, by the way. I am merely acknowledging to myself and to you that this is the way things are, and I’m trying to be very zen about the whole situation.
So this is what the writing life is like for me. Perhaps some of you, my fellow insecure writers, understand what I’m talking about.