New year, new beginnings. This, of couse, is the time for looking forwards to the future, but also for looking backwards at what has been. I must admit I’ve been thinking a lot about why I write and what I’m trying to achieve as a writer over the past few weeks.
I started writing for the same reasons I assume every writer does: because it’s something you feel you need to do, but also because there’s a thrill at the thought of creating worlds, stories, characters, adventures. And then, at a smaller level, there’s the simple delight of forming a beautiful phrase, the perfect sentence. Always, there’s this itch to set these things down, polish them into a perfect state.
I think, somewhere along the way, I’ve lost some of the delight of that. Partly it’s a publishing industry that often feels like a machine for sucking the joy out of the creative process (there are obvious exceptions). I also think it’s very easy to get sucked into the mindset of thinking about all the things you haven’t achieved, rather than celebrating all the things that you have. This drags me down at times, too, if I let it.
The temptation is simply to say that I’ve achieved all I’m going to achieve and to do something else with my time. But that itch is still there, and I still get the sense of delight that comes with a new story idea, a new character. What I’ve come to understand is that I need to rediscover all the naive joy at the thrill of writing that used to carry me away. I’m more experienced now, and maybe I’m more skilful, but in some sense I knew a hell of a lot more about the point of it all when I started out. Writing is (obviously) supposed to be fun. It can be hard at times, even a slog at times, but that’s fine; it’s all about the joy of creation.
So, I’m going to focus on that. I have lots of novels and stories to write, and I want to enjoy writing them. While I’ll obviously carry on doing things like marketing and trying to get noticed, I’m mainly going to not give a damn about any of that stuff. It’s (almost) all about the thrill of writing now. The joy of text.