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kahnovitch
March 8th, 2006, 07:13 AM
This thread is partly inspired by exchanges with Mr Wassner (who I'm sure is a very happy soul deep down) and is a subject that has been touched upon (if not vigourously man-handled) in other threads like "why do you write?" etc.

Writers do seem to be an unhappy bunch though, regardless of their degrees of success in the publishing game.

If we're not fretting over our latest submissions, we're turning ourselves into insomniacs over our current WIP, editing and re-editing it in our minds until me either pass out from sheer mental exhaustion or get kicked out of bed by our SO and demoted to sleeping on the sofa.

So, I want I mental picture of yourself, sometime in the future where you are happy, or at least content with the whole writing game and your efforts with it.

So whether you're a published or not, is there ever going to be a point where you can put your feet up and just chill for a while in the self content glow of personal achievement?

Or does a writer always have to working as they are insatiable animals always wanting more, More, MORE!

Holbrook
March 8th, 2006, 02:26 PM
I used to say that walking into a mainstream book shop and seeing my novel on a shelf would remove the poison from my blood.

Now I honestly don't know. Little desire to write anything at present, and the very thought of the work presently being submitted is making me cringe. I can see all its faults and compared to what I know is out there I know my chances are small, so I get very frustrated and annoyed with the whole process.

Still, my short story "Death Won't Be Cheated" will be published in issue three of Event Horizon by MamTor Publishing in May! Something to look forward too.

Hereford Eye
March 8th, 2006, 03:33 PM
Can honestly report that I am happy right now, dabbling. Everyday there is something I want to write or re-write but that urge is not accompanied by a need to wrap it up and send it off for publication. I think being able to post stuff here in the Stories section or in the Collab threads let's me know some folk are looking at it.
I cheat, of course. I'm successfully retired. I not only do not want to make a lot of money; the governemnt will be unhappy if I do. They'll take my retirement away from me and then I will have to work for a living. Ugh! Boo! Hiss!
Now I can have the fantasy that my family will have to gather everything up when I'm gone and try to decide whether it's worth getting the stuff edited and published or not. That will be poetic justice since they pay little attention to what I am doing at the moment. They get the headaches; I get the joy of writing.
Whoo hoo! It doesn't/can't get any better than this!

SKK
March 8th, 2006, 05:44 PM
Ironically, I'm pretty happy with where I'm at now. I've been forming stories in my head for as long as I can remember, but it's only recently that I've first tried my hand at actually putting one down on paper. I don't have any illusions about publishing or recognition, per se, but if I can just hammer out one good, solid (if severely flawed) story, and get a few readers to hit me with some feedback, well, that's good enough for me.

choppy
March 8th, 2006, 07:31 PM
I think there's a clear distinction to be drawn between considering oneself "happy" and considering oneself "a successful author of fiction."

I'm happy to write. Naturally I would be happier if I had more time and if it paid more, but I'm happy within the process of creation itself.

I'm not what the world would consider a successful author by any means. I have a single, tiny credit to my name. That however, will change.

I think in terms of goals. For example a short term goal would be to have a short story published somewhere that pays more than $10.00. Another one would be to finish a marketable, novel-length manuscript by the end of the summer. A long term goal would be to write a sequal to my first novel to make the New York Times bestselller list. As I reach these goals, I climb the ladder of personal success as I define it for myself.

Radthorne
March 9th, 2006, 01:14 AM
So whether you're a published or not, is there ever going to be a point where you can put your feet up and just chill for a while in the self content glow of personal achievement?

Or does a writer always have to working as they are insatiable animals always wanting more, More, MORE!
Both, I think. Although I didn't quite reach as far as I had originally planned, hitting small press rather than a NY house, still I did manage to get published, and then get a second one out there as well. There is naturally enormous satisfaction in that, and the 'glow' from that is still there. Even if the books fall out of print tomorrow, having at least achieved it, and had equally talented folks like HE find the results to be of worth, is something that's unlikely to ever go away.

On the other hand (wait, which other hand? Yours? Mine?), there is always the desire to do better at the game, to write those words that will reach deep into someone's psyche and take their breath away. And, of course, depending on where you are on the ladder, a desire to move up a notch or two (me, I'd sure like to get out into some of those chain stores and build up a bit of a readership, at least enough so that people I've never heard of will write and ask me important questions like, "Hey, is character X gonna marry character Y?" Of course, if I ever reach that plateau, I'll be wondering why I ever wanted that kind of attention...) So for me the answer is yes, got the glow; and yes, please sir I'd like some more... :D

James Barclay
March 9th, 2006, 05:08 AM
It comes in waves and cycles. When I was first offered a publishing contract, I most certainly chilled and basked in the glow of achievement. But only for a week.

Because the reality of the publishing contract is that it comes with pressure to deliver. I wouldn't have it any other way and that has it's own satisfaction.

Next is trying to reach the stage where you can write full time. I've been lucky and managed to achieve that. Basked in that glow for a while too. Chilled out a lot. But the pressure to write more, better etc is bigger. I have to sell books or I don't pay the mortgage. Wouldn't have it any other way. It's been my dream and it's lovely to live it. But the reality is different.

And now? Well, I don't see an end to the desire to write and that is as it should be. That makes me happy but it has it's own pressures. The love of writing comes hand-in-hand with the fear of not knowing what to write next, of running out of ideas.

Talking to other writers, it seems that one day, all expect to have had enough of writing novel after novel but none is specific about when that might be. Doesn't seem to have anything to do with age or financial security. More about satisfaction and desire.

I'm happy that I have the desire to write and even happier that I can write for my job. But like any worker, I relax and chill out at the end of the day and if I take a holiday. I don't believe there is a promised land for writers. Take even JK Rowling. Massively successful, enormously rich and loved the world over. Chilled out? Doubt it. Imagine the pressure for the next HP to be the book her readers want...

Right, I've rambled enough.

NOM

alison
March 9th, 2006, 05:13 AM
You know, I'm not unhappy. But I am never content. The best description I've read of the endless process of writing is TS Eliot's in Four Quartets - (and I have had twenty years, now, of trying this)

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

kahnovitch
March 9th, 2006, 08:41 AM
Great input guys. A nice cross section of thoughts.

It's interesting that as our achievements progress, so do our aspirations. I think that's a fundamental aspect of us as people. To forever try and better ourselves, and our situation.


Talking to other writers, it seems that one day, all expect to have had enough of writing novel after novel but none is specific about when that might be. Doesn't seem to have anything to do with age or financial security. More about satisfaction and desire.

Sounds like the old maxim of, "as long as we have a story to tell, we will continue to write",
Maybe there comes a point when you just plain run out of ideas.

When (if ever) does the creative process itself become an obstacle?

Does a published writer have the luxury of time to "let ideas come to them" or is it a case of trying to force words onto the page because of deadlines etc?

pcarney
March 9th, 2006, 01:29 PM
Seemed like I went through a period where I tried to tie happiness to various things- partying, martial arts, writing, etc. And it never worked. I guess I find happiness where I can get it (my son smiling at me, when I've brewed a new batch of beer, a good breakfast). My writing has annoyed, teased and frustrated. But I won't let it make me unhappy.*

*These are the comments of an unpublished, amateur writer of pulp.