In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: About Writing as “Work”
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“[P]eople pay good money to get on a rollercoaster to be stressed and thrilled and have fun. That’s writing every novel for me.” Dean Wesley Smith
“I enjoy writing as well as having written. I enjoy finding my story as I go, figuring it out, and putting it down for myself, and no one else.” Joe R. Lansdale
Yesterday quickly turned into a non-writing day as my wife and I (mostly my wife) filtered through, cleaned and put away all the stuff we brought back with us. That’s all right. A minor life roll, which is fine. I still have a little underlying exhaustion from the trip too, so spending a couple hours doing that and the rest of the day doing nothing was fine.
Rider Jones counts patience among his many attributes, so he’ll be waiting when I’m ready to check in on his story again. And if that story decides not to keep running or doesn’t run long, I always have the next book in the FOH series to write. And I’ve been wanting to check in on a new operative for Blackwell Ops too.
Topic: About Writing as “Work”
I was thinking about what DWS said in his post about Joe R. Lansdale: “Joe calls his writing work, I call my writing pure entertainment and fun.”
I know where Dean’s coming from, and I kind of agree with both of them.
In my own practice, I say every morning that I’m “going to work,” meaning I’m heading out to the Hovel to browse the internet, post the Journal and write or “work on” the latest story.
Both Dean and I were raised in homes with lower middle-class incomes, so I understand his take. “Work” is a place you don’t want to be and while you’re there you’re doing something you don’t want to do. To get the right mindset, for the first couple of years after I started writing novels, I was very careful to never refer to that as “work.”
Then again, I’ve been a working cowboy on a cattle ranch, a dishwasher in a truck stop, an oilfield roustabout, a Marine, a cop, a truck driver, a proofreader in a major house and a laborer in a landscaping company (I think that’s all of them), and none was a job I didn’t enjoy to one degree or another. I never stood at an assembly line 8 hours a day sticking widgets on gadgets.
So today, I think of my writing as “my work” though it’s still a lot of fun for me. I leave my home, sort of, and go to a specific place—the Hovel, my workplace—to do it. I set it up that way intentionally.
Thinking of my writing as my work or my job lends it just enough credibility to make me show up every day, even on some days when I just don’t feel like it.
I could say searching the internet and writing the Journal is a kind of actual work, but really it’s fun too. I learn, and learning is fun. And the fiction writing itself when I move over to the writing ‘puter is sheer excitement and joy. The kind of joy you get from being on that roller-coaster Dean mentions above.
There’s the underlying sense that I’m safe enough, that nothing bad will happen if I “fail.” But that’s coupled with the overall excitement of going to a place I’ve never been before and experiencing things I’ve never experienced before. I think that’s what Dean is talking about.
And if it weren’t for that fun and joy and the excitement of not knowing what will happen next in the story, I would no doubt stop telling stories and “work” at something else. Like fishing.
So if you can call your writing work without it causing your subconscious mind to think of it as something you don’t want to do (or your subconscious mind doesn’t want to do), then that’s fine.
If you can’t do that, then just think of writing as your fun-time escape from work.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Not Your Usual Blog Tour” at https://www.suecoletta.com/not-your-usual-blog-tour-newrelease/.
See “Simon & Schuster and Political Books” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/simon-schuster-and-political-books/. See TPG’s well-reasoned comments. GAWD I’m glad I just tell stories.
See “Joe R. Lansdale’s Bio” at http://joerlansdale.com/bio.html. Especially the interview section where he talks about writing.
The Journal…………………………………… 750 words
Writing of The Origins of Rider Jones (short story, maybe longer)
Day 1…… 4293 words. Total words to date…… 4293
Total fiction words for April……… 60021
Total fiction words for the year………… 347098
Total nonfiction words for April… 13060
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 80460
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 427558
Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 3
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 61
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.