Writing For Profit, Writing For Pleasure
We've all had to force ourselves to write
Being a writer, whose income depends on being able to wordsmith constantly, it is difficult to sit down and write for pleasure. Often, after spending all day putting thousands of words down for other people, there is very little time or energy left to write anything for yourself.
Some days, we have to force ourselves to write anything at all; and that's ok. We just work through it, like anyone else. Should we force ourselves to write for pleasure? Will we have quality work if we force ourselves, or do we just take a sabbatical from it until we have the right amount of energy to do it justice?
Great Writing Prompts
- 365 Writing Prompts for Creative Writing Inspiration
For your practice writing sessions: 365 creative writing prompts, one for each day of the year.
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
It's Not Just Writer's Block
When you've been writing for money all day long, you'll most likely be exhausted by the end of the day. If it were just writer's block, the books listed in the ad above, or the prompts to the right would definitely fill the void. But this is something more.
There is a definite, and nearly tangible mental drain from forcing words out of your head, on a topic you really aren't passionate about. Do this over and over, all day, every day, thousands upon thousands of words. After a short time of doing this, it can be a nearly impossible action to sit down and write anything after that.
We then face a difficult choice. Do we force ourselves to write?
There are a couple of schools of thought on this and they are as follows:
- HELL NO! - Don't you dare write until the inspiration catches you...
- YOUBETCHA - It doesn't matter if its good, as long as you write, right?
No matter which side of the fence you lean, one thing is for certain, the story isn't going to write itself. Words have to get out of your head if you are going to share them with us.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
To Bleed, Or Not To Bleed
Do we sit down and hammer out the words in hopes that something good will come from this bloodletting, or just let it be for a while?
Keep on Truckin'
Taking the above into consideration, about getting the words out of your head, you may be compelled to keep on writing in hopes that something useful will come out of it. That's the catch. No matter what you write, or how you feel about it at the time, you will have something you can use; now or later.
It may not be very good, and it may have nothing to do with what you intended to write, but it's there. It is now out of your head and down on (virtual) paper. The great thing about this is being able to get something, anything down. Most of the time it won't be useful to your current work (or at least that's been my experience), but on the off chance it is organic to the WiP then it is a golden nugget that you would have lost otherwise.
Even though it's been my experience that these nuggets are few and far between that doesn't mean the time has been wasted. Many times I can go back to my other writings or notes for inspiration to begin another piece of work. Without it, many pieces of my writing would not exist today.
A Little R&R
On the other hand, taking a break can give your mind and spirit the rest they need to work at full strength Prudence suggests moderation here. It is way too easy to slack off and procrastinate when it comes to getting back into your writing.
Experience has shown that coming back from a short break allows better, passionate, and more fervent writing. Ideas you've struggled with will flow naturally and a new path could be discovered. Relaxation allows your creative mind to work, unrestricted by deadlines and word counts.
How do you overcome the challenges of writing for profit and writing for pleasure?
After taking a look at both sides of the argument, we are left wondering which option to choose. Don't be misled into thinking there are only two choices. We are free (that's why we write isn't it?) to choose the writing style and workflow that is best suited to us. Balance must be found no matter how you roll.
Any sabbatical must not be short lived, else you may not ever get back to your work. Instead, you'll drag on every day writing for money, feeling like a slave. Part of the point of writing is the freedom it brings. The freedom to express yourself to potentially a bagillion people. Don't let the forced writing most writers have to do affect your personal writing. Take back your spirit and inspiration any way you can.
On the other hand, a writer cannot keep writing indefinitely or their writing will begin to suffer. Writing can be a very exhausting task; it is important to find a way to relax your mind and be open to inspiration. The best bet is to find a place to relax that is conducive to writing, and inspires you. That would be the best of both worlds.
Now's your chance to sound off. Let me know how you balance the delicate relationship between forcing yourself to write and taking time off so you can gain inspiration.
© 2013 davidwhoward