Do I find writing to be a joyful experience? Short answer: yes and no.
Yes, there are times when it’s difficult, times when I’d rather be anywhere other than at the writing desk, and times when I think I’m kidding myself about being able to write anything worth reading and that I should pack it in.
Writing for survival
BUT those negative times are relatively rare. And no matter how bad the writers’ block or the procrastination or the self-doubt might be, I honestly can’t imagine not doing it. It’s vital for my health and wellbeing, it’s my purpose and my passion.
Writing for daily life
The everyday, practical, non-fiction type of writing – that is the lists, the lists about lists, the problem-solving mind maps, the journaling and the diary keeping – all help me work through problems, get organised and make decisions.
And when things are getting a bit too much – during times of stress, anxiety or depression – writing, for me, has really come into its own. At times like these writing, in the ways mentioned above, has been therapeutic and helped me find my way through and out the other side.
Writing for a living
As for the professional side of my writing – the creative, imaginative stuff that I do – well, that’s where the real joy comes in. I love setting out with one or two characters and finding out from them what their story is.
For me, writing a novel truly is a joyful voyage of discovery. Those first one or two characters introduce me to more characters along the way. They reveal where they live and they share their problems, dilemmas and challenges with me.
I love fleshing out the characters, creating the details of their homes and daily lives, providing the backdrop and landscape in which their stories take place. I also enjoy getting them out of the difficult or maybe even life-threatening positions I’ve put them in.
And it’s wonderful – if sometimes inconvenient – when having hit a metaphorical wall in a work-in-progress, the solution suddenly comes to me unbidden – when I’m in the shower, when I’m about to fall asleep or when I’m out walking. But inconvenient or not, I love it when my sub-conscious mind takes care of the difficulty.
Then there’s the buzz of seeing the finished article, of holding the book I’ve created in my hands. There’s nothing like it.
Apart, that is, from the even greater buzz when a reader tells you they loved it.
And it’s most certainly not about the money earned – although that’s helpful – but as long as at least one person reads and enjoys my made-up stories – probably even if that’s just me – I’ll keep on doing it.
A life-enhancing joy and passion
Yes, writing truly is an essential joy.
So, what is your passion – is it writing or something else? What drives you to pursue it? Can you imagine your life without it?