Monday, October 4, 2010

Are you happy with your writing?

Not as simple a question as it seems at first glance, is it? Actually, I'm less concerned with true happiness than with how my state of emotional well-being affects my creative output. On the one hand, I can't afford to be too pleased with my WIP if I expect it to achieve acclaim and acceptance. On the other, too much nit-picking and frustration lead to stagnation, and that ain't good either.
Let's break this thing down a bit. I have to admit it's nice to sit in a comfortable office, clacking away at my keyboard, immersed in all the trappings a successful author could hope for. Pleasant music in the background, temp and humidity optimal, a good meal in my tummy, and my dogs at my feet to field my outbursts of temper or elation. What could be better? If this does not make me happy, what will?
Maybe best seller status for my latest release? Maybe a three book contract sold on a mere sampling of the first two books? Perhaps, a national TV book tour, including all the major networks?
Would I be happy if I never sold a single book, but neither did I have a single rejection letter staring me in the face? When is a project truly finished? Finally, does it matter if my characters come to life in my head but never see the light of day?
Lots of questions and a myriad of answers, all correct and none false; at least not to the one who gives her answers to this forum. I'm truly curious--strike that; I'm ravenously anxious to hear what all of you have to say about what makes you happy in your writing.
I must close this post with an apology for the hiatus of the last two weeks due to illness; my own one week and my dog the next. I had a short term flu bug that made a most unwelcome return engagement week before last. Then last week, my one year old pup tried to eat an acorn. He'd swallowed linoleum, plastic, metal, shoes; you name it and he'd eat it. But not the little acorn he gobbled up while on a run in a local park. Darn dog nearly died on me. Can't have that happening; he's the inspiration for my NaNoWriMo output next month. Oh yeah, I'm doing it again. I just sold the book I wrote in that exercise two years ago, and I've got this idea for a truly funny story centered around a large dog who thinks he's people.
Let me know what you think about happiness in writing. Meanwhile, may the creative bug bite you in the, uh, spot that gets you slamming words into your chosen method of writing. Cheers, Pat Dale


  1. Hi,

    I'm happiest when I write something and go back and read what I wrote and can't believe I wrote it. Promo and marketing overwhelm and frustrate me. I have to force myself to face it and I hate that. And when I'm stuck in my writing and have to force my way through it, I feel like a crappy writer. So I end up all over the place some days. I think my life is out of balance.

  2. I'm absolutely happy with my writing. I LOVE to write! I want to keep growing and expanding my skills as a writer. For each book I put out there, I want readers to expect better and better each time. I really do feel fulfilled as a writer, and by that definition, successful and happy.

    For me, the more important question is this: am I happy with my financial return as a writer?, or rather, not yet. But, hopefully, one day... :)


  3. Hey! Great post. I'm happy with my writing, just need more time for it. See you at NaNo, my friend. :)

  4. Right now, fingers crossed, I am loving my writing. I started my novel Night Surfing two years ago at NaNo and hope to finish it this November. BTW, an old writing friend lends inspiration post-NaNo in December on her Plot Whisperer blog.

    Back to liking my writing, it just gets better and better. I think about my WIP's all the time and feel like I can grab ideas from anywhere, even from singer Pink's glitter in the air! I've had so many jobs in my lifetime but writing and Guest Blogging seems to happily be bringing all I know together in just the right way. I am blessed...

  5. I love my writing too. Of course, there are days when it's hard to get motivated...especially when there are distractions. But once I force myself to start (and I'm much better if I head to a Starbucks or the library), my fingers start to move quickly, and my muse helps me produce a lot of work. I need to get my first draft done, because for me the true glory comes in the re-writing. Thanks for the reminder of Nano--I've done it twice and sold both of the books. Actually, both the books were already sold, but I needed the extra motivation to be more productive!

  6. Thanks to Kathy, Destiny, Karen, Word Actress and Kayla for your comments. I guess it's pretty universal that we writers are by nature a happy bunch. Maybe not with the tangible elements such as royalties, maybe. But I know I relish my freedom to create any world I can envision, inhabit it with characters I dream up, and follow my muse to wherever she leads.
    Pat Dale

  7. Great thoughts in your post. I love to write, but that seed of doubt always filters in. I always worry that I've let my characters down.

    Glad your pup is okay. They are just kids with fur. Devastating when something happens to them.
    Thanks for sharing.

    C.K. Volnek

  8. Writing brings a sense of contentment and achievement once a scene is completed and characters have had their say. Although that is satisfying, when someone else reads that scene and wants more, that is the ultimate thrill. Although I write for me, I measure success in the impatience of my readers looking for more.
    There are days when the muse is silent, but even then there are chapters to edit or characters to perfect.
    Dogs make perfect writing partners, don't they! I will keep mine away from acorns.

  9. Nice post - I'm happiest when writing on a current WIP novel, actually finishing chapters. It's those little interruptions that start adding up - time away from the keyboard. Guess days of total interruptions make me stressed out...ere go, unhappy...grumpy, (if you asked my husband - who is the worst when it comes to interruptions - although he's also my biggest supporter).
    So glad your 'muse' dog came out okay.

  10. Greetings, glad you and your canine muse are both doing well.

    I don't know if it's happiness. What I feel when I write is wholeness. when I sculpt letters into words then read aloud a poem I just wrote and I can see it with my eyes, and ears and nose and skin; when I wrap up a scene or a story and it feels real (even though it be a fantasy or speculative fiction) - I feel connected and a part of something essential, a part of the lyric cacophany that began before we measured time and evolves through its essence with each voice that sings alive, each leaf that sips sunlight, each seed that reaches skyward, each sparrow that soars on a whistling zephyr.

    When someone else reads those words and says, 'hey, I can see it, I can hear it, I can feel it' that's sublime; my eclectic solo evoking a response from another.

    When I write I live in the moment, albeit one I inscribe with my essence. If we need a label, then I guess when I write I am happy ~

    I Write On!

  11. Thanks also to Charlie, Dragonmuse, Kay Dee, and Kate2world for your thoughts on the subject. I can't speak for all of you but I feel such energy when writers bare their writing souls together.
    After enjoying my music career for decades, I discovered what you all have expressed when I actually finished a book I'd started. I had written fifty/sixty pages of several would-be novels over the years, never finishing one of them. That first one was a real eye-opener. Of course, it wasn't finished; is any of them ever really done? LOL
    Cheers all,