Pain and Frustration

3 01 2007

I read a very interesting post on Susan Hill’s blog and it got me thinking about writing, about my writing – to put it more specifically about my attitude towards my writing.

I’ve always felt that a career should be interesting, it should be stimulating, it should be challenging (in a positive way of course) and it should be enjoyable. It’s one area where I’ve never been willing to compromise. What you spend the most of your time doing should be enjoyable and fulfilling.

Time and time again I’ve found myself frustrated with people who are willing to accept less, who are miserable in their chosen path and yet make the choice to do nothing about it.

I should pause here and qualify that statement – I realize that there are economic limitations and that I am one of the fortunate ones that have not had to suffer those kinds of limitations yet.

Where my frustrations really lie, I suppose, is with those – particularly in one branch of the teaching profession or another – who complain consistently about what they do and yet fail to do anything about it, even if there are not any sort of economic limitations. Take for instance the ill-fated PhD situation. Having a prof tell you on day one that she hates her job and would rather do anything else on the planet if she could with all her degrees and whatnot is not the best role model for the wishy-washy candidate that I was or (I secretly suspect) for most of her students. How can you engage students when you aren’t engaged yourself, when you aren’t really there because you find the work frustrating and a waste of your time?

All that (in a very round about way) leads my back to the point Susan Hill made about writing being enjoyable. I’ve never thought to apply my philosophy about an enjoyable career to writing, to my writing. I beat myself because it needs to be meaningful, it needs to say everything I need to say, but always in that serious, confessional, heart-wrenching, I-must-suffer-for-my-art kind of way which is too exhausting and off-putting. I mean the working title of my first novel is Bleaker for goodness sakes! No wonder I feel like I’ve been knocked down and dragged through the mud every time I sit down to work on it.

There have been moments – particularly one WWI story – where I have allowed myself to just enjoy the joy of writing, but those times are few and far between. Why is that? Where did I get this idea that it has to be so hard?

This whole idea of enjoyment and fun (in regards to writing) is, I’m ashamed to admit, something that the Crafty (and very wise) Mama has been recommending for… well, it’s too long to remember when she first started advocating this fun business. You’d think I’d have learned by now to listen to my mother.

If I did do New Year’s resolutions this would be #2 on the list: make it fun, make a change or just bloody well give it up!

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3 responses

4 01 2007
Donna

Finally!!!!!!! (smiley face here)

6 01 2007
caveblogem

It can be really hard, though. Sometimes it seems to be enough just to be totally absorbed in the writing. Sometimes I don’t need to enjoy it, or I’m so busy wading through something that I’m not sure I even have the mental band-width to enjoy it, at the time, anyway. Sometimes if writing just takes me away for a while, then that’s enough.

Oh, and nice blog, still waters.

6 01 2007
sparrow52

Thanks for stopping caveblogem!
I do agree with your point about being totally absorbed and writing taking you away – though for me those are connected to it overall being a good or enjoyable experience. But I do see your point that sometimes in the point you get too caught to focus on the enjoyment – that sometimes that comes after the fact.

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