But what about the joy?
But I've also got to ask, what about the joy? I'll admit I started to write because (egad!) I thought it would be fun. I enjoyed reading, after all. And okay, maybe I could earn a few extra bucks. And when I started, I had a blast. I especially loved making up my people (as I refer to my characters). Then I sold and made the extra bucks. I continued to love making up people who lived in the past, and who had troubles and issues and conflicts and danger as they fell in love, and thinking about why people do the things they do. I was having the time of my life and getting paid for it, too.
Then I got caught up in other people's ideas of what makes a "successful" writer, followed (not coincidently, I don't think) by the Dark Days, when I was having trouble writing. Nevertheless, I got the work done. I got my butt in the chair and was pleased with my books -- but I had lost the joy. I had come to see writing as a task, a job, a chore. A series of what to do and what not to do, of writing with an eye to material success and what other writers were doing, if I wanted to "succeed ." It wasn't fun any more.
The joy and the words, the pure enthusiasm for writing, the fun, came back when I realized I didn't start writing to fulfill somebody else's idea of success. I certainly didn't do it to be chained to my computer, although that's what I had allowed to happen.
Over the years, I've come to believe that writing with joy, with pleasure in the work, is the most important thing of all. For all the talk of what makes a good character or plot, I think enthusiasm is the element that makes your writing come alive and stand out from the pack.
So I say, strike off the chains! If you really want to write, if you're meant to be a writer, you'll find the time when you can, and you'll keep doing it, whether anybody tells you to, or not. Write the story the way you want, at your own speed.
And most of all, have fun !