When Did It Stop Being Fun?

For a while now, I’ve been experiencing an annoying dose of writer’s block. It’s not simply a case of sitting and staring at a blank screen waiting for the words to come, this is a flat out case of not even wanting to go near the computer or notebook. There’s just nothing there story-wise. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Wikipedia describes writer’s block as a condition “in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown.” Yep, that’s me. “The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years“. Yikes. That last part inspired me to take action. So…

I’ve decided to jump off the deep end and have signed up for National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. This, according, to the official website, is “a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing” and means that on 1st November until the 30 November, participants are tasked with writing a 50,000-word novel. The essence of NaNoWriMo is Don’t think. Just Write. Well, signing up seemed like a good idea at the time, but now panic has well and truly settled in. But needs must and all that.

I’m not entirely sure what started this downhill slide into writer’s block, but for some reason, the joy of creating stories has left me, albeit temporarily I hope. It makes me long for the old days when, charged with an idea, I couldn’t wait to get to the computer and start writing. They were heady days. So involved was I in the story that I’d go crazy if I was interrupted. I remember once when AJ called me away for lunch and I told him I couldn’t be long as I couldn’t wait to get back to the story to find out what happened next. It seems a long time since I felt that way. So what happened?

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Years ago, I read a really great article by author Holly Lisle called Are We Having Fun Yet? She talks specifically about writing, but her words can be applied to almost everything we  once loved to do but ultimately lost its magic for us. Holly talks about doing what we love simply because we love it. When we first find something that fires us up we throw ourselves into it. Of course, since we’re beginners we don’t always know what we’re doing, we don’t know the rules, but isn’t that part of the magic? We’re doing it simply for its own sake and for the pleasure it brings us. Then we start to discover the ‘rules’ or someone implies we’re not doing it right, and in trying to do it right the magic slowly begins to die

So, during November I’ll be throwing out the rules and attempting to find that magic again. What I write will be just for me, for the sheer pleasure of creating. There’ll be no thought of reader preference, editor requirements, publisher expectations, and not even concern for that insidious little voice that lies deep within and loves to tell me that I’m doing it all wrong. And, if my cunning plan works, I might just might, find that magic again.

What about you? Is there anything you’ve once loved/enjoyed, but somehow it’s lost its magic for you? Is there anything you might be able to do to get it back? I’d love to hear about it. Oh, and please take a couple of minutes to read Holly’s article. I’m sure you’ll be inspired.

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10 responses to “When Did It Stop Being Fun?

  1. Good luck with this challenge, you will do this and work through writer’s block. You know I’ve bouts of this and blank screens/paper, also drawing. Blog, you and bitesize attempts helped. GO for it! x

    • Thanks, Jane! No doubt you’ll be in the firing line of some November angst coming your way 🙂 And yes, I know you understand the blank page/screen only too well.One of these days I’m going to get you NaNo-ing!!! x

  2. The thoughts you’re sharing here are so familiar to me! I’ve been feeling very hemmed in by the expectations I hold for myself, both in writing and in life. And that’s what’s inspired me to do NaNo, too!

    • Ah yes, Kate. Nobody puts expectations on us greater than the ones we put on ourselves. Well, during November we can give ourselves permission to shake those off just for thirty days. Best of luck to you!

  3. Go for it, Tricia, you know you have that story in you. Hope our discussions on Wednesday helped too. I suspect most of us writers have suffered from writers block in one form or another at some stage; I know I have. And my Thornbury Castle/Elizabeth emerged from doing NaNo, even if I didn’t complete the challenge. Forget readers, forget editors, just write and enjoy the ride. x 🙂

    • Yes, our discussion really did help and I’m fired up and raring to go! I hadn’t realized your Elizabeth was a NaNo idea. I’m so looking forward to reading the completed story, although I know you have a ton of other writerly things to complete before that will happen. Onward and upward. x

  4. bristolwomenwriters

    Hi Tricia – yes, once you start thinking about ‘the rules’ and how it’s meant to be at the end, the joy does go out of it I think. For this month I am just doing it in the way I want to. If no one else likes the result I barely care. Do something, I say, rather than do nothing. Best of luck. Maybe we should get together around Christmas and see where we are at. Ali x

  5. I’m with you. I’ve been foundering, and am doing NaNoWriMo to reinvigorate myself and my writing. I wonder if this 30 day focus can be applied to anything, like losing weight or learning something new. Do it intensely for 30 days, then back off and evaluate?

  6. I’ve been on the verge of doing NaNoWriMo a couple of time but not this year. I took a year off. I read Holly’s article you recommended and the “Have you lost your wings,” is sticking with me. Have I? I hope not because I love flying and not just with writing. I have been doing a lot of different things this year but I miss the creativity of writing.

    You and Laurie are brave to take on NaNoWriMo and no matter what you’ll come aways if a success.

  7. Sorry late response to your blog. Think you are revitalised a bit and on the up. Well done on the challenge! I do think some things have a “lifetime” then we move on to other things but writing is a great skill which I hope you will continue to pursue and share.

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