Creativity and Work
It has become apparent to me that if I let my desire to be a writer (meaning a writer who earns a more than an insignificant amount of monetary compensation for his/her work) overshadow the enjoyment I get from the creative process, then my work grinds to a halt.
My daughter and I have spoken about this and she has done some research on the subject. I have done some too but most of what I have read, about the self publishing business anyway, disparages the perceived need for a creative muse. Instead the ‘successful’ authors preach content creation and a structured approach. Inspiration is over rated they say, plan, see what sells and get writing! This approach feels like an anchor that drags me to a halt. I don’t think I am alone in this and I think it applies to most creative endeavours.
Secondly, this process: the blogs, the Instagram posts, the Facebook presence, the website, this feels a lot like work. And it has taken the place of some of the time I used to spend creating. Not a good situation but one lots of people are struggling with.
My daughter tells me two things:
One, separate the creating from the selling. We still have to do them both, just on different days and in different ways. Then the frustrations of things like finding square pictures of book covers for Instagram posts have their own time and space and they are easier to move on from.
Two, write what moves you. The reader will be able to tell if you are on auto pilot. Don’t be. Write the best book you can. Take advice from the pros. Be honest with yourself. But don’t create somebody else’s art. I once got advice from a published writer. He told me to ‘write a fabulous book.’ My response at the time was, ‘I am writing the book I am writing. That’s all I can do.’ I must remember that, as all creators must.
A friend of mine recently reminded me that some of the greatest authors the world has ever known had to work at something else to pay the bills. I am lucky enough to have a full time, rewarding job. And I don’t want another one. God bless and good luck if you are trying to keep a roof over your head and buy food for your family with your writing. That’s a whole different thing. My daughter has the template that makes sense to me and I’m going to try and use it from now on.
Check out career change wisdom from The Hustle. A little bit of what was just discussed in there:
Some prose from my latest novel, still in the editing stages:
The soldiers left him alone, but it was a big army and sometimes recruits new to training tried insults, jokes and attempts to really hit him. Not all of them had heard of his blinding speed and immense strength so occasionally, Conor would look at the commanding officer. If the man gave a nod, he would beat the man senseless in seconds. If not, Conor simply held up his hands and walked away.
They continued to train twice a day, even on the march. He didn’t wonder where the army was going or why. He didn’t care. He walked, ate, trained and slept. When he was not doing these things, and when he allowed himself, he mourned.
A picture to inspire. NASA's latest rocket to Mars.