Thursday, 30 April 2009

Happiness is ...

People sometimes ask me what I enjoy about being a writer. It's a good question, if only because it makes me stop and think about how much I do enjoy it, and reminds me how lucky I am to be doing what I'm doing. I'd like to say I enjoy everything about it - but that wouldn't be entirely honest, because there are moments - like when a half-written novel gets rejected! - when I feel like giving it all up and going back to a sensible job with a proper salary and proper hours. But that feeling doesn't last long, because:

* There's nothing quite like the feeling you get when a piece of writing is going well - when the characters seem to 'take over' and almost write the story themselves. It's a real adrenalin rush and I firmly believe there's some kind of magic involved - I often look back at something that's turned out well and wonder if I really did write it!

* The excitement of seeing your name in print in a magazine, or on the cover of a book, never fades. I think writers must all be slightly egotistical, or maybe just a little weird: who else Googles their own name continuously to see who's mentioned them? We stroke our own book covers lovingly, prowl bookshops looking for our own books, almost faint with joy when someone says they've read one and enjoyed it! To sum up on this point: it doesn't take much to please us!

* I've worked in jobs where I dreaded getting up in the morning; where I felt unappreciated; where I didn't even like what I was doing. Now, I'm doing what I love best - and being paid for it. OK, not a lot! - but I'm looking at the positives here, not the negatives!

* Writing is something you can do no matter what race or religion you are, whether you're male or female, fit and healthy or frail and feeble, and most importantly, no matter how old you are. There's no need to retire, at any age, and no need to stop because you have a baby (or several).

* You don't need to commute, or drive, or even get dressed, to work at your writing. All you need is a computer. Or even just a pen and paper if that's the way you like to work (as long as you're not intending to submit your handwritten scribbles to any editors!).

* Writers never need to be bored. There's never any time when I wonder what to do with myself - even if the computer crashes or there's a power cut, I can resort to that pen and paper temporarily!

* Basically, I write because I love writing - and that overcomes everything else, even the rejections. It's difficult not to be happy when you're doing what you enjoy.

Any other reasons to add to the list? I'm sure you can come up with some ....


  1. I'd echo all of the above and only add a comment made by one of my daughter's friends (which just about sums up how I feel) - 'I write because I can't help it'.


  2. I think that you are lucky to be earning your living from writing if that's what you want to do. I sometimes wish that that was my life then I have agood day at work and I think "Nah!" Actually I feel a blog post coming on so you'll need to pop over there to see the what I'm thinking.
    Great post by the way.

  3. Thanks Suzanne - and yes, I've heard that said before (about writing because you can't help it) - very true! I've also heard it said that it's an incurable illness and we need sympathy!

    Gonna Be - I do know what you mean: as well as the days I hated, there were days (probably most of them, really!) when I did enjoy my job. And I do miss my colleagues! But I had to give up work for other reasons - not connected with writing - so you're quite right, I was lucky that I had writing to fall back on. I'll pop over and read your blog!