That might sound like a stupid question of course – given this is a blog written by a writer and read mostly by other writers and keen readers. And that’s why I asked it. Oh yes, I don’t just throw this stuff together.
Well, ok, maybe I do – but I have at least some thought for the consequences. And ‘Do you enjoy writing?’ isn’t such a daft question as it sounds. Because when I ask it of myself – I find mostly the answer is no – I don’t really enjoy it. Not the same way I enjoy ice-cream or red wine or sunsets or a good film. I don’t enjoy writing the way I enjoy reading.
Writing isn’t something I enjoy, it’s something that I do.
The obvious next question then is why do it? I mean why write fiction? I don’t get paid for it – at least not enough to live on. I get the occasional tichy pay-day when a story wins a competition and my book, when it comes out, will pay royalties – though, as the mathematicians amongst us will be aware, 15 per cent of nothing is nothing.
So there must be some other pay-off then? Yes – there are many.
The actual process of writing can be a trial – a brain-ache and a nuisance, something I would rather not be doing. But nevertheless I do it, because it is what I feel compelled to do. It feels like what I’m good at – it feels like what I’m for if you like, and it always has done. It is something which is not part of me but which I think will always be with me – like the weather. I could have said like air or water – but I need those, I don’t need to write – I just want to. Also you can have bad weather, like bad writing.
Another reason I write, despite not actively taking pleasure in it, is that, although the process of sitting somewhere getting words onto a page, then revising them again and again and again until they feel right is not enjoyable at the time it does have an effect on my overall sense of wellbeing.
I think it does anyway – I’m not sure. But I’m going to say it does. I think that, when I am writing fiction I have more of a general sense of satisfaction – an underlying fuzzy sense of goodness. You can tell I’ve not really thought this bit out.
Is it just me or does anyone else feel like that?