Please welcome Mark Terry, author of the Derek Stillwater novels. The next installment, THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS, is available THIS WEEK, so click over and buy yer one. Actually, buy yer several. Mark's a helluva a writer and Derek is one tough hottie.
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Is Writing Fun?
By Mark Terry
By Mark Terry
From time to time I ask myself: Are you having fun?
Actually, that’s a pretty complicated question for me. Because I make my living writing, hence, it’s work – it’s not something I can NOT do without certain repercussions, namely, I won’t make enough money to continue to go to work in a T-shirt and shorts and no shoes. I’ll have to go out and find a real job, assuming anyone would hire me after being out of the market for seven years.
I'm reasonably confident that most writers get into this gig because they thought it might be fun. There may have been some ego involved and there may have been some dreams of big money, but you just don't keep at it if you don't enjoy the process.
One of the things I've discovered about writing for a living is that money concerns can be pretty debilitating to the creative process. There's a story about Mickey Spillane who was living on an island somewhere warm. He couldn't get any ideas for a story and had some version of writer's block. No story would gel, he just couldn’t get anything written. Then he got a call from his accountant telling him he was running out of money and faster than you can say "gratuitous sex and violence" the Mickster had plenty of story ideas.
I think most of us tend to work in the reverse, actually. What starts out as pursuit of things that interest us can get warped by pursuit of things that will sell. It's nice when they overlap.
My most common versions of writer's block occur when I allow myself to think something won't sell or get published. Granted, that’s changed significantly with the growth in e-book self-publishing. If something won’t sell, it’s not a major chore to commission cover art and get your manuscript professional designed for e-publishing voila, off you go. Still, for me, it can sometimes be hard to pursue a story just for the sake of the story.
I’ve been enjoying writing fiction more lately without too much thought of publication. I’m not able to take myself back, back, back to those heady days when it was all potential and I was drunk on storytelling, but I’m enjoying the process more when I don’t treat it like a job.
Although … it is my job.
Is writing fun for you?