When You'd Rather Just Write (Help!)

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Work that you love just doesn’t feel like work, right? Whereas work that you do not love (and in fact may not like even a little bit) feels like a grind. And these days—spoiler alert!—I’d much rather just write than work on the writing-business tasks. 

This startling epiphany came to me recently whilst having a conversation with a non-writer friend who asked about the latest news: 

SHE: How’s the writing going?

ME: Oh my gosh, I’ve just about got all the characters introduced and this time, it’s a poltergeist thing.

SHE: Hold on. This is the new book? I meant the one you finished. How’s the publishing going? 

ME: Oh. Um… 

There’s no need to share the part of the conversation where I attempted to justify the last four months of avoiding the publishing side of Book I like it was infected with the plague. But somewhere in my stumbling around, it hit me like a brick to the head: I’d much rather just write. 

I want to tell more stories about these characters I’ve created. I want to throw obstacles in their way and see how they’ll overcome them. I want to see if they find fun romance or lasting love. And however will they solve this latest mystery? 

And believe me, I am working. I mean, it’s all kinds of work, creating, imagining, writing, revising. I go to bed thinking of storylines and I wake up with new storylines (and solutions!). I have a mountain of scraps of paper around my house, cryptic notes scribbled that later make no sense to me. But as soon as I can manage it, I’m at my laptop, trying to put it all together and writing, writing, writing. 

And then there’s work for Book I that still needs to be done, which even a little rhyming poem can’t improve. There’s a website to get up and social media marketing to build (though my Twitter Troubles have yet to be fixed). And of course, there’s the actual publishing part and all that goes along with that end of the business. Basically, all the stuff my brain keeps pushing over to the “Not now, I’m busy” side. 

Is it any wonder that there are so many publishing companies out there for writers, companies that will handle all those not-so-fun tasks? The bottom line is that most writers love to write and would much rather leave the business details to someone else. Except that bottom line can get very expensive.

So here I am, stuck in this place where I write “WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT” on my monthly To Do list…pretty much every month. It’s not that I can’t do it; it’s just that I’d rather write. And meanwhile, business deadlines are catching up with me. 

What’s a writer to do? How do you motivate yourself to do the work you ought to do when you’d rather do the work you want to do? I feel like I may have written plenty about this exact kind of motivation years ago, but these days? Well, I’d rather just write. (Help!)


Angela Mackintosh said...

I hear you, Cathy! When I'm in a writing groove, I usually write first thing in the morning for a couple hours in my creative space, and then shower and move to my office for business tasks. The different spaces put me in the zone. Maybe try dedicating one area for work tasks and one for creative. That's the system I use to get a little done on both every day. I tend to go heavier on the work side and spend hours there, while the writing side only gets a couple at most because I burn out after two hours of creative writing.

Btw, I love the She/Me dialogue format. I've been seeing that a lot in books lately. :)

Cathy C. Hall said...

Ha! Thanks, Ang, I had no idea I was at the forefront of a new trend! :-)

Changing spaces is an excellent idea. Might work if I break up my routine, too. Business early in the day, writing fun in the evening. Fingers crossed!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Wow. That's such a concrete solution. I may have to engineer a way to give that a try.

Renee Roberson said...

I hear you, Cathy. That's why I have several books written and not a one to be published yet, ha! I absolutely love the world of writing but the revision, more revision, editing, pitching, etc., not so much. I'm not sure I have any great advice as yesterday I was trying to talk myself out of researching/writing a new podcast episode because I just wanted to get back to my "war room" of sticky notes and get back to revising scenes on my latest book! (Podcast won out. Trying to stay consistent with it.)

Linda O'Connell said...

I am amazed at your success. You always prevail, and I know you will figure this out. I have been thinking of changing up my creative writing space. I know we all like to do what we want to do, but put off what we have to do. When I am in my writing zone, I can write all day, but when I am not. I do not. A change of pace or PLACE may do thr trick. Happy writing!

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