“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
I was thinking about when I first realized that writing was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. There’s something about what power words hold. To think of how you can change people’s lives, and perhaps even reflect changes within yourself with something as simple as words.
I remember when I first started writing poetry and jotting down ideas for novels that I didn’t know how to begin just yet. I remember knowing that someday I wanted to be published, even a New York Times Bestseller, but at that moment writing was just fun for me. Well maybe fun is the wrong word, freeing would be more like it. It was a way for me to express emotions that it didn’t seem okay for me to express to anyone else. It was a way for me to cry out about some of my childhood experiences without actually screaming out loud. It was how I displayed the real me.
I was ten when I started writing and even all the way through high school there was no pressure. I wasn’t shopping anything around to publishers and agents hoping to be in bookstores (not then anyway). However, with the desire to be published came so much pressure and so many fears and yes even unrealistic expectations. I think I thought back then that someone would just read my work and see me on a page and accept everything that I put before them but that was very unrealistic. What was also unrealistic in my thinking back then was that being a writer didn’t involve some sense of business savvy to go along with it.
Being a writer when you are young and only focused on the creative aspect of it is simple, easy, freeing. There’s no pressure involved and no headaches with trying to figure out how to make it work for you financially and still keep your artistic integrity. Making a full-time career out of being a writer is hard, and it takes work, and it places a lot of pressure on your shoulders.
I have days where I truly feel like the reality of being a writer and thinking about marketing and promotion and how to earn more money doing what I love to do has in some way stripped away the joy of actually writing and creating plots and stories that will captivate people. I made quite a few mistakes in my journey to get published that I would change now if I could go back but I suppose that instead of regretting them I could treat them for the lessons that they have become.
Maybe some days I should just take time to go back to being that writer in high school who didn’t have the pressure of trying to be a widely successful writer. I think that focusing on the creativity some days instead of stressing over the business of it all will possibly allow me to get back to actually being productive in my writing. So my question to you guys out there is this: Do you ever think that having to be your own business person as a writer gets in the way of your creativity as a writer? Were you a better writer before you tried to make it your business?
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2 thoughts on “Does the Reality of Being a Writer Take the Creativity Out of Being an Artist?”
This is so true, and really hits me today. Recently, I’ve been trying to get an agent, and it took all of the fun out of writing the second book. I had to start thinking of what the readers want, what sells, and everyone was calling me a sellout. But that’s the nature of the game. I did the creativity bit, now I have to make it something the public would love. So, I started writing a short story, with the thought that I would never do anything with it. It was fun! Freedom! I wrote like a champ! And then I started thinking of all the things I wanted to do with it (publish on my blog? self-publish? Send out to magazines?) and then it wasn’t fun anymore. I now spend my evenings drinking coffee and staring at Facebook. Writing is only fun when I write for the sake of writing. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty blah.