Friday, March 16, 2007

Give it up!

Recently, I've come across an author who has decided to give up writing fiction.

While I respect her decision, that's something I could never do, but it does give me an idea.

I will always write. I wrote for years without even considering publication, it didn't matter. It wasn't part of my life.

When I did write with publication in mind, I had a different attitude. I'm asking people to pay good money for my work, so all the self indulgence had to go, and I had to have a more professional attitude. That meant looking at markets, producing a book regularly, a proper working day.

I still love it, and I think all the discipline has actually raised my game. I'm certainly happier with the way I'm writing.

But could I give up writing? Hell, no!

However, I've seen writers in despair, because they can't find an agent, can't find a publisher, can't find a home for their work. So my advice would be to give yourself a holiday from that.

Just write. Remind yourself why you do this, how much you love it. Forget markets, forget the business and just give yourself permission to write, something you care about that doesn't fit anywhere, or do anything except maybe hone your craft a little, and free up your voice.

You never know, you might end up with your first published book! But it doesn't matter. If you don't, you have reminded yourself just why you put yourself through this torture, what is at the heart of your writing, why you do it.

And if you find yourself writing nothing, don't despair. Perhaps that was the break you needed and you'll come back refreshed, or even find yourself turning in another direction.

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