A Taste of the Dream

Happy Bank Holiday Monday people! For me it was.  Today I got a little taste of the life I dream of.  

I would like to be a writer and work from home.  Today I was fortunate enough to have a holiday while nobody else in my family did.  I took my son to school in the morning, played with my daughter for a bit and carried on with the mundane – housework etc. before delivering my daughter to nursery in the afternoon.  Then, came the unusual part – two whole hours to myself.  

You may remember one of my earlier posts, in which I cited Brendan O’Carroll’s advice that you should get to know your characters by writing 20 pages or so about them.  So, that’s what I did.  I’m not at 20 pages yet but I started writing about my main character’s past and I loved it.  I enjoyed the feeling of creation but oddly it felt like I was getting to know someone that already exists.  I will definitely carry on with this method and repeat it wherever necessary.  I want to know my characters inside out before I participate in NaNoWriMo in November.  I would recommend this method.  

Anyway, I digress.  The purpose of this post was to put in writing how this taster felt.  It felt good.  It has revived my goal and gave me an extra boost to achieve it.  No more thinking I’m too tired and it’s too late to write now after I have given mundane tasks my attention.  Lunch breaks will be more productive for me too and any other time I can squeeze writing in, I will.  I want to make this happen.  I will make this happen.

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Writing For Yourself vs Writing For A Living (or combination of both?)

I recently finished reading the book “The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World” by Lewis Hyde which was (would you believe it) a gift from my husband,  I don’t want to go into too much detail but the title is a little misleading.  I think my husband assumed, as did I, that the book would be about creation – literature, art, music etc.  However, it is mainly about the exchange of property/gifts, taking into account different cultures and religions.  In my honest opinion, I didn’t especially enjoy the book.  I found it difficult to read and it didn’t captivate me.  I would not dissuade others from reading the book as their opinion may differ from mine.  It is packed full of information and much as I didn’t enjoy the overall content, it did contain some interesting tidbits about other cultures.  However, the purpose of this post is not to review the book.

A quote within the book caught my eye:

You really have to make a resolution just to write for yourself…..in the sense of not writing just to impress yourself, but just writing what yourself is saying – Allan Ginsberg

I realised how true this is.  My ambition is to make a living from writing but as a relatively new writer, this quote has made me see that I should be writing for myself first and foremost.  Writing for fun is a good start and can teach you something about yourself.  However, I do think there is no harm in “impressing yourself” with your own writing.  If you don’t enjoy writing/reading it, nobody else will.  In order to reach my goal, I will have to release my writing out into the wild eventually.  I agree that a writer shouldn’t write to suit others or with only a sale in mind but I see nothing wrong in earning money from writing.  I don’t think it detracts from the art, so long as the artist is enjoying the creation.

I don’t want to write something that nobody will ever see.  I want to enjoy writing for myself but also to be able to pay my bills with it but I hope in doing so I maintain my integrity and don’t become a sell out, chasing money rather than writing the kind of book I would enjoy reading. In my mind, it is possible to reach a middle ground.  I hope reality will reflect my theory.