A friend of mine on the forum recently reminded me of something. She’s been working on a project for the last little while and just been flying through it, posting regularly about her progress and how much fun she’s having with it. She’s excited as a kid on xmas morning to sit down and throw a few more pages on. So I asked myself how long it’s been since I got that kind of innocent pleasure out of my writing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’ve stopped enjoying it. But it seems that somewhere along the road to getting published, I’ve forgotten that – really – getting published isn’t the point. It’s the way to make a business out of a talent, absolutely, and a way to spread your writing across a wider audience than you’d probably do otherwise, certainly, but when I was six years old and penned my first story, my thought was not for it to get my name in print. I did it because I was inspired to get the words down, so I did.
I remember spending a weekend holed up in my dad’s office when I was fourteen, taking over his computer, and working six hours straight on a Saturday to write a story of a couple thousand words because I’d had an idea that morning (I still have the story – it was a Days of our Lives fanfiction). Back then I didn’t care about editing, I didn’t care about drafts, the story just needed to be told.
In terms of style, structure, vocabulary, etc, I feel (hope) I’ve come a long way since I was fourteen, but I also feel that I’ve missed out on something in the meantime.
There has to be a balance between writing professionally (edits, drafts, more edits, rewriting, edits from scratch of the new stuff you just wrote, marketing, networking, etc) and writing with the abandon of a child who’s just experienced pixie sticks for the first time and is riding the rush of a sugar high. I’m not quite sure how to find this again, but I think I’ll start with a good old fashioned Hilroy notebook and Bic pen, curl up on my grandmother’s sofa while she watches Law&Order reruns and makes me crepes for breakfast, and go from there. It’s always worked before…