Whatever happened to this being fun?
This week I've been made to think about "having fun" with my writing.
Most of the time I’m too busy beating myself up over another week gone without any visible progress and feeling guilty about never doing enough for my writing.
But then this week, I had to question myself to say, when is it ever going to be enough? But also, isn’t this supposed to be fun?
I get very self-concious when people ask me or talk about their “hobbies”. This is because I feel like I don’t really have any. Growing up my parents were too busy trying to survive and build a comfortable life. Hobbies? psshh. Their hobbies were to try to make more money. There’s no time or energy for doing something pointless and fun for the sake of fun because that energy should be going into productive tasks. That’s not to say we didn’t have any fun. It just was a rare luxury to be able to do that.
In a way, growing up in that environment meant that I internalized the importance of constantly working. I don’t recall ever taking a sick day off work because that’s just not something that was done. Mind you, in comparison to my parents, I’ve had a million times more fun and luxury in my life. Even if I don’t have some obscure talent for playing the zither or know how to surf really well, I’ve gone out of my way to have fun. Some would say I tend to over-do things to an extreme. I work really hard but I play really hard too - even I know very few people who’ve quit their lives to travel for a year and is planning on doing it again.
I think the attitude of grinding it out is what I’ve taken towards my writing but in many ways this is wrong. My writing isn’t something that I should hold onto so tightly that I crush the air out of it. My writing is supposed to be fun. It’s what gets me excited. It’s supposed to nourish me, not cause me this much pain, guilt and shame. Somewhere along the journey I forgot that I’m doing this for fun.
A part of me feels so ashamed to call it my hobby. I think in my mind it’s supposed to be something so much bigger - my career! my passion! my purpose! yet, the reality is that associating these big and heavy concepts and words with my writing is crushing the fun out of it. I suppose I don’t have to call it a hobby. Hobby feels not heavy enough and frivolous. I suppose I can call it something I do. Or, my writing practice. The latter sounds very new age-y but it’s not untrue. It’s an accurate description of what it is to me. Sort of like a religion or spirituality. It’s something that I try to work on a bit on a daily basis.
Regardless of what I call it, my life-coach reminds me that she started her life-coaching career at 45 and that what is meant to happen will happen. That holding our dreams lightly in our hands gives it room to breath and lets me remember that it’s to be about the love of doing it. My writing mentor tells me “oh don’t worry, one day you will have an agent and an editor and a team asking you for things”. I am still very much unbelievably excited at these prospects. She tells me she has no doubt that I can do it, and I just have to remind myself that (and I KNOW) that I can! That it will happen eventually, and that the road there should be fun. I just have to focus on the next small task and then the next one and the next.
In these next weeks:
+finish transcriptions for 2 interviews
+finish reading Tell Me Everything by Erika Krouse
+finish Book People timeline
+try to speak with 4 new Book People
+write a scene from one of my interviews