Maybe I shouldn’t be speaking for the lovely lady, and maybe that isn’t really how she sees it, but if you would have left a recorder sitting in our living room for the last few weeks (or if you work for the NSA) no doubt you would have been privy to several conversations beginning with: “God, I wish I could go to bed, but should really get a blog post done. Or try to finish that short story I’ve been struggling with. Or at work on that novel revision that’s going nowhere.”
Sometimes it seems a bit overwhelming. Stuff is busy, you know. Hell, I even went so far as to tell my mother-in-law the other day that I sometimes I feel like just taking an indefinite vacation from the blog, the books, Theme of Absence, everything.
But why so down, Mr. Poopy Pants?
It’s a good question. I used to be like, YAY FOR ME! I’M GOING TO GO WRITE STUFF FOR A FEW HOURS! MAYBE EVEN DRINK SOME ALCOHOL!! (Yes, I did shout it out just like that. I even jumped up and hit my head on AC vent in the basement one time. It was very embarrassing.)
So what happened? When did writing go from being something I did for fun to something I did for unfun. THAT is my new favorite made-up-word: unfun. 🙂
Well, it’s hard to say. In the course of my short writing career, I became a father of three, up from being a father of zero a few years ago, so free time has become a sort of fantasy fiction that lies in my dreams. But I don’t think that’s what sucked the joy out of writing. And the last thing I want to do is blame my kids for anything. They are definitely not the problem.
So again…what is the problem? Why is writing all of a sudden a chore?
You know what? I think we’re onto something. Writing stopped being fun because I allowed myself to began thinking of it as a chore.
Just for kicks, this is what life feels like right now.
Get home from work and:
- Unload kids from car.
- Clean kitchen.
- Feed kids.
- Clean kitchen.
- Put away toys.
- Give kids a bath.
- Put away more toys.
- Clean the kitchen again.
- Get clothes, etc. ready for work tomorrow.
- Clean the kitchen.
- Clean up cat puke.
- Put kids to bed.
- Slide the remaining pile of toys against the living room wall, as to avoid stepping on them in the morning.
- MAYBE feed self and wife, if we have time.
Go to bed.Shower.
- Go to bed.
So, yeah, we’re busy.
But here’s the deal. The reason writing stopped being fun for me is because I allowed myself to shove it to the back of the list. And what does item # 15 on that list entail? Usually there is time for a single blog post. Maybe I’ll read a submission to Theme of Absence, and maybe do a little bit of social media stuff (because that’s what we’re supposed to be doing as writers, after all) and then maybe, maybe, if there’s an extra 15-30 minutes, work on some actually GD fiction.
So what do I do about it?
That’s the whole point of this post, right? To make writing enjoyable again, right? The answer is simple. So simple I shouldn’t have wasted 570 words getting to the point. If I want to start enjoying writing again, I need choose to make it enjoyable again.
How? Here’s how:
Change my outlook. I don’t have to write every night. (Actually, I do, but we’re getting to that.) I get to write every night. Instead of spending the evening rushing to get everything done and wasting precious mental energy worrying about what I’m going to write, or getting angry that I haven’t been able to finish a blog post, I’m going to focus on another aspect: I like writing fiction. GD fiction as I said earlier.
Instead of dreading writing after the kids go down, I’m going to start looking forward to it. It’s my so-called passion, remember?
No more I have to get the kids to bed and clean the kitchen because I have to write before bed.
Instead, the frame of mind is this: After the kids go down, I’m going to relax a bit by working on some stuff.
That might be a blog post. It might be my novel. It might be a new short story. Whatever it is, it’s going to be something I can look forward to. Because that’s how you’re supposed to view a hobby. And even when I reach the point that I’m doing this stuff full-time, it’s still going to be something I do for fun.
And you know what? If that means cutting back on the frequency of posts for a little while or taking a break from the novels to work on a couple of short stories just because I feel like it, that’s okay. The whole point is to remember that I do enjoy writing.
I love the rush I get every time I write the final word of a short story. Or flipping through my novel just for fun. And while Write Good Books might seem like a chore at times, I don’t regret starting this blog for a minute. The whole point of this site is to give other writers, especially new or unpublished ones, a place to go to learn about writing. And I think the whole point of this post is to let you know that we all get overwhelmed at times.
And no matter how crazy real live can be, you got to write through it. I really do love writing and everything else that goes along with it. Now don’t ever let me forget that again.
What about you? What do you do when you’re feeling like you’re in a rut and writing isn’t quite as fun as it used to be? Let a comment and let us know!