Monday, June 23, 2008

Why I Write: For the pleasure

Writing is (often) a pleasurable activity for me.

There's the delight of feeling something falling into place. The 'Aha!' moment, where I find just the right line that I'm proud of, or just the right point to end the scene, or just the right insight into the character. The bigger the insight for me, the bigger the thrill. But I very much enjoy the feeling of getting it right, and the continuing glow afterwards - which I stoke up by reading over and over something that I feel is right. I can dote on a favourite line for hours...

There's the joy of knowing something is on track and going somewhere good. It's the expectation of the finished good work combined with a sense that my life is on track. I don't need to be immediately working on a project to have this feeling, so it doesn't necessarily lead me towards actually completing anything!

And there's the deep satisfaction of accomplishment - the 'Ahhhh' moments where I feel I can sit back, take it easy, and crack open a beer (or a can of Coke in my case). I've overcome the fear of the blank page and persisted long enough to take the work all the way from A to Z.

I hope I would be able to take the conscious choice to give up writing if I didn't experience these pleasures from time to time. I fear I wouldn't be able to - maybe I'm enough of a masochist and dedicated enough to pursue in the face of receiving no reward whatsoever... Luckily, even when I haven't felt good about writing at all, I've eventually come through to a place where I do derive these pleasures from writing again.

It's those darker emotions that writing generates for me that are going to be the subject of my next post.

7 comments:

Benedict Reid said...

There we are. This one I can completely cocur with... with no argument.

Writer said...

It's funny how pleasure isn't absolutely essential when it comes to writing... I think satisfaction can happen without necessarily involving pleasure and it's definitely the satisfaction as opposed to the pleasure that I rely on. I think every writer has a streak of the masochist in them. Not that I don't have pleasure in it - sometimes!

Sean said...

Glad to hear you take pleasure in it sometimes!

Tim Jones said...

When I started writing, I rarely got pleasure (or even satisfaction) from the process of writing itself - it felt like hard and tiring work. The pleasure and satisfaction came, occasionally, from looking back at what I had written.

These days, I enjoy the process of writing a lot more - but just because I enjoyed writing a piece when I was working on it, doesn't mean I'm more likely to be satisfied when I go back to revise it. (Maybe with the exception of the very few pieces I've written that just flowed smoothly onto the page, and have barely been revised since. There'd be nothing longer than 500 words in that category.)

dreadbeard said...

Writing is fun. (And maddening, and hard work.) But yes. Fun in some of the purest sense.

Mr A. P. Salmond, esq. said...

I hate to sit down and write. Can't stand it. The idea of devoting the time; the idea of trying to order my thoughts into something cohesive; the idea of doing hard work in my spare time; the fear of just being a bit shit. So I hate to sit down and get started.

But at about the 15-20 minute mark something happens. I hit a kind of sweet spot where things start to flow. My thoughts start to arrange themselves and the moment comes where they're outpacing my typing speed by a considerable degree. That right there is the moment where it becomes a pleasure. Well, up until the moment I come crashing to a halt, trying to figure out where to go next.

If only it weren't for that empty chair, blank page and first fifteen minutes...

Sean said...

How to somehow get rid of that first fifteen minutes...

One of these days I'll have to really post about procrastination and my avoidance of the blank page. Maybe I can start 'Why I Don't Write'...