Did I Enjoy Writing More Before I Was Paid For It?

Saturday, October 20, 2018
photo via pixabay
I'm sure there are many of you out there answering this question with a loud, resounding "NO," but late last night I read an article by someone who admitted they enjoyed writing more before they were getting paid for it. Of course, this made me think.

This line of thinking reminded me of the time in high school when I was working on a fantasy novel. I enjoyed writing that novel so much. I loved talking about it, sharing it with others and developing my characters and my own fantasy world. In fact, somewhere in boxes of handwritten stories, I have drawings of what the characters wore, language notes, and even a map or two. I wrote with fervor and passion. I wasn't worried about getting published or getting paid for it (to be honest, though, I wasn't writing thinking I WOULDN'T eventually try to publish this story).

More than 15 years later, I can't say I write with the same unquenched thirst as I did in my teens. Life has happened, energy has shifted as well as priorities. My interests in what I write about have also changed. These days I couldn't go back to that fantasy novel any more than I could wear the same exact pair of jeans I wore as a teenager.

Another example I can think of is my own personal blog The World of My Imagination. I started that after graduating from college when I needed an outlet for my creative side while job hunting. I enjoyed that with as much fervor as my fantasy novel. I didn't care about advertising or sponsored blog posts. I was writing for the fun of it. That joy showed. Yet, like my fantasy novel, that changed too.

I think back to those two seasons of writing and wonder what was so special and different. Realistically speaking, during those two moments in my life I wasn't worrying so much about making ends meet and developing the career side of writing. Now, writing has changed into not only being an art form, but also something I would like to do as my career full time, whether it's freelance or otherwise. It's no longer something I want to sneak in when I have time. I want to make a living out of this whole writing thing.

Does that mean I am not enjoying writing as much? No, that doesn't mean that at all. In fact, I have a confession. That fantasy novel? I didn't finish it in high school. I finished it about six years ago. See?

Photograph Proof of That Finished Novel Circa 2012

As for my blog? Well, while it isn't as active as it once was, but through that blog, I found out about WOW! Women on Writing, which eventually led to me working with WOW. I am so grateful to be part of this incredible network and resource for writers everywhere.

So, to answer that question I pondered last night, I may have had a different sort of joy and energy for writing in the past, it doesn't mean I enjoy writing less now. In fact, in the past, despite that passion for writing, I also had terrible discipline. I've come across many stories and partially finished novels I wish I had finished in the past. Overall, I think it's important to let perspective, life circumstances and maturity change writing. That's how we stay with it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to dig up a few old notebooks and reminisce.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--You made me think. Did I enjoy writing more when I was a teenager? Before I got my first story published?

I'm not sure. I DO know I enjoy more moments of connecting with readers now, compared to when I was 13.

I'm going to reflect some more...

Angela Mackintosh said...

Nicole ~ I love the photo of your fantasy novel! :) I admit, yes, I enjoyed writing more before I did it for a living. It wasn't the money that broke me down though, it was the realization of how tough the industry is and what the "rules" and expectations were. Before my eyes were opened, I just wrote fiction for pleasure. But now, I've come full circle after a long dry spell of not writing creatively and only writing for pay. I'm not so worried about pay, and more interested in craft. Don't get me wrong, I still need to work to make money, but as far as writing for pay, I would rather make the majority of my money outside of writing, writing occasionally for pay and mostly for pleasure. That keeps things fresh and inspiring for me.

Renee Roberson said...

I totally get what you're saying. I enjoyed writing non-fiction magazine and newspaper articles a lot when I first started freelancing, but currently I don't seek out those types of assignments quite as much. Sometimes I have to write a press release at work (which should be a no-brainer for me right now) and find I am stumped on what to say! I think so many years of "just writing the facts" stumped me. These days I'm finding more pleasure in creative writing (mostly short fiction) where for the most part, I don't get paid. I love your photo and have similar photos of my first completed novel (which I ended up completely re-writing and am now sending out queries for). So you see, never say never :-)

Nicole Pyles said...

@Sioux - Good point Sioux! Actually, now that I've really started to pursue writing as a career, I tend to connect with writers more that way.

@Angela - you definitely made a good point. It's something that I'm struggling myself, even as I make announce that I want to do this whole writing thing as a full-time gig. It's easier said than done, because somewhere deep down, (and maybe not so deep down) I only want to write fiction. I don't really want to bother with the other stuff. I'm definitely going to be thinking of this though!

Nicole Pyles said...

@Renee - your comment reminded me of brief season I was doing a LOT of ghostwriting, in fact that was all I was doing. It breaks my heart a bit now when I thought of all that time I gave to others and never for my own stuff. And good point about that novel :) I still have it too! I would have to be in the right mindframe and suddenly find myself WAY into fantasy novels again :) But you're right, you never know!

Sashoash said...

Hi. . I'm new to this forum. I used to write a lot of short stories and articles for print media in my college times. But as you said "life happened" and since years I've barely managed to write a few things and hide them in closets. I'm trying to gather myself up and start writing again, because I really love it. It soothes me out. Thanks for the inspiration.

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