Writing is Enjoying the Process

When you bite into a piece of chocolate (dark chocolate, in my case), you should immediately experience that sense of pleasure, assuming you love chocolate. If not, substitute your favorite food to get the image and feeling of that pleasure.

Or imagine being immersed in your favorite hobby or activity. Feel that wonderful pleasure of being in the moment, loving every second of the experience. You can be filled with excitement, anticipation of upcoming events, success at every turn.

Now think about being totally involved in a writing project that you have looked forward to working on. You should be completely entranced by the experience so much so that time slips away and only actual, physical hunger or other bodily concerns, will drive you away from your writing.

The feelings of these three experiences should be similar. With your writing, you should enjoy nearly every task, nearly every moment of the writing process.

Of course, every writer has tasks that are less than agreeable or enjoyable, often downright frustrating. And every writer has experienced the moment of complete and total frustration when it is a wonder that the thought of being a writer ever sounded wonderful or promising.

But those moments should be only occasional. And you should be able to work through them so that you can move on to those tasks and moments that you really enjoy. Once you have completed a few projects, you will know when these occasionally frustrating times occur and know that you can get through them if you just knuckle down and do the work, and move on.

I attended a workshop once. One of the attendees said that writing was the most painful, awful experience he had ever tackled, but he did it anyway. My question to him was, “Why do you write?” He gave all sorts of superficial reasons, such as fame and fortune associated with his writing. He really wanted to “have been written,” but he was not a writer, at least in my definition. I felt really sorry for him as I compared his horrible experience to my wonderful ones.

I love writing. I love to create nonfiction books and workbooks, and I am even gaining momentum with these blog posts and articles though I prefer the longer length of publications. And I get giggly when I am writing fiction, my true passion, which I have only just recently allowed myself to return to after many years away (for some lame excuses like, “I cannot afford the time,” or “I have to write serious stuff,” and other ridiculous excuses.).

I believe life should be fun. Your passion for an activity indicates the closeness of that activity to your life purpose. If you would do something all the time without ever receiving any money for it (assuming you had other financial support), that is your true passion.

I have two passions: writing and helping people to become better writers so they can achieve their goals. I do this through my writing, coaching, and occasional teaching face-to-face.

But others write because they want that carrot at the end of the stick that keeps hitting them, causing them pain and anguish. That is just silly. This world offers a multitude of professions and ways of earning money. Being a writer offers a more difficult path to wealth and freedom than other professions. You should be a writer because you cannot NOT be a writer. If you stop writing, you feel like you are going to go nuts. If that is your case, you are a writer. Accept it, find those genres you are good at writing, and write them.

My father always said, “Make your hobby into your profession.” When I was teaching business students (usually juniors and seniors) about business communications at the university, I usually managed to give his advice, but with a twist. I would say that every company has accounting, IT, personnel, and other common functions for which they were studying. Why not work for a company that involved their hobby? That way, they would be working at their chosen career while being surrounded by their hobby. How cool would that be? I do not know how many heeded my advice, but it only sounds logical, rather than accepting the first job they get an offer for.

This applies to writers as well. First, choose writing as a career (or at least a hobby until you can afford to quit your day job) because you love writing that moment-by-moment experience. Second, find the kind of writing you really enjoy.

In my early career, I tried all sorts of different genres, including short stories (too short), mainstream novels (way too long), nonfiction books (had a blast with those), plays (never took off), and so on. Eventually, I found that I truly enjoyed writing projects that took between 120 to 200 manuscript pages, which, as it turned out, include nonfiction books, workbooks, adolescent novels, and screenplays, all of which fall within this page range. But it took a lot of trial and error before I stumbled on these various ways of sharing my expertise and storytelling talents.

I also had to experiment with topics. I started as a travel writer and had some success, but then I found that I really enjoyed writing about writing and writers. I have been writing and publishing work ever since.

Find your writing passion — the genres and the topics — and enjoy the moment-by-moment activities of that passion. And have fun, for goodness sake.