Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blog Chain: Why does this have to be so hard?

Eric started the blog chain this time with the awesome topic: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of being a writer? What is your greatest reward from writing?

My mom always told me, "Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it."

It's true. I'm living proof that a wish can come back to bite you in the butt. (I'll spare you the teethmarks.)

When I was younger, I only wanted to write.

That's it.

I loved writing so much as a pastime that I wanted a day job that involved writing, too.

So that's what I yearned for, prayed for, wished for.

And that's what I got.

I'm a news writer by day, fiction writer by night.

I don't mean to be a Negative Nelly, but sometimes it sucks.

Don't get me wrong. I love my job and I love my hobby. And I'd be lying if I said one doesn't compliment the other.

But it's really easy to burn out.

In fact, I've been struggling with that issue for almost a year now, and sometimes the temptation to give up the fiction aspect of writing nearly overwhelms me.

Thankfully, the voice of reason has always stepped in to remind me how much I like daydreaming about characters and exploring what-ifs. I love the feeling of finding just the right word. I especially love it when a phrase turns in a such a way that I have to catch my breath.

So far, those rewards have made the struggle with burnout worthwhile.

What are your biggest struggles and rewards?

Check out what Michelle said before me. Don't forget to visit Christine's blog tomorrow to see what she says about challenges and rewards.


Eric said...

Great post, Kat. It's funny, because though I didn't wish to be a writer when I was a kid, I'm envious of someone like you who can be one professionally. I can see how one might get burnt out, but I'm glad you haven't given up the ghost.

Anonymous said...

A slump into "lackofconfidenceville" will lure me into thinking about quitting. Then I'll get some supportive and positive feedback and I pick myself up and keep going.

The slumps are hard. But giving up is harder.

Bravo for not giving up!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I can understand this--I used to be a tech writer in a former life. Now I work in a lab, and it's nice to have a job where you're not staring into a computer eight hours a day and can move around if necessary.

Michelle McLean said...

yeah, I burn out and I don't do this full time :) But, usually a nice little break gets me back in the game :D great post!

nomadshan said...

Hang in there, Kat. I write for my day job, too. Sometimes I have to give myself permission to take a couple weeks away from creative writing to refill the well -- mostly by reading.

Shaun Hutchinson said...

I second the burnout cures: sometimes just a week or two away from the keyboard to read or paint or watch reruns of Buffy can refill the well. DOnt' be too hard on yourself :)

Anonymous said...

I haven't reached the burn out phase yet, but then again, I only started writing, seriously, two and a half years ago.

But I have experience burnout in another part of my life that I HAVE been doing my entire life--exercising. Sometimes I just want to stop everything. Not worry about exercise, or what I eat or the next race or. . . ok, you get it.

Inevitably, after I take a break of some length, I come running back to it. . . It's just part of me. Ingrained in my DNA.

So, don't fight it. Just know, through the rough times, frustrating times, and even the good times, we're with ya! You're never alone.

Margie Gelbwasser said...

I, too, always wanted to be a writer. I used to do freelance writing for magazines and newspapers (still do a little) and can understand burnout. But for me it was the factual writing that began to burn me out (which is why I only do articles that really interest me now). I missed the creativity fiction involved, hated writing an article and having it approved and then finding out months later I needed to revise because of a new ed or data or just someone's desire for a new angle. Hang in there. It's about finding a balance while keeping sane (so simple, right? Haha).

Cole Gibsen said...

I totally agree. For me, I can cure a case of burnout with my sewing machine. I think it's good for creative people to have multiple creative outlets.

Sarah Bromley said...

The burn out is exactly why I decided not to pursue a day job that involved writing after I had my English degree. I thought about it and am still told often that I'd make a good editor, but I won't risk the passionate part of writing my stories.

Shaun Hutchinson said...

My day job is in computers, so after 9 hours of dealing with people who can't change their own printer toner and, I'm dying to get back to writing. I'll take the frustration of writing over computers any day.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Wow, this is a really interesting perspective. I've always thought that I should have gone into journalism to help my writing more, but I'd never considered the burnout angle. Really great post -thanks for sharing!

Christine Fonseca said...

I love this post!!! Great perspective

B.J. Anderson said...

Haha, my mom used to say that all the time, too. I think having your dream become your career can lead to burn-out, unfortunately. Great post!

Amanda said...

Great post! I've experienced the burn out and sometimes it's hard to bounce back. But once you revisit the reasons why you love to write, you remember why you spend the long hours at the keyboard! :)