Writing on Happiness in Writing

This is what celebrated writer Colm Toibin has to say about writing and its emotional content:

“Oh there’s no pleasure. Except that I don’t have to work for anyone who bullies me. I write with a sort of grim determination to deal with things that are hidden and difficult and this means, I think, that pleasure is out of the question.”

This, the rest of the interview, and the opinions of some famous authors set me thinking about how I feel about my writing, what part gives me joy. I have to say that there are days when squeezing one word out is an agony, but I suppose I live for the days when I can’t stop writing and the floodgates open.

I also write hoping to surprise myself. I have gone back to things I’d written a decade ago, and gone: “Wow, I wrote that?”

I don’t think I write for the joy of writing however. I write because if I don’t, it creeps into my work and my life. I suddenly start inventing characters and events in real life, and that, as we all know, is called “lying” !

Writers are usually known to be a neurotic, unhappy lot, perpetually longing for something: that word, that sentence, that finished draft, that agent, publication, success, awards. But in my mind, here is some very good advice to all writers, most of which I have internalized some time back, other than no. 3 and no. 6 perhaps.

Go read the Ten Commandments for the Happy Writer!

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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  1. Sarah Jensen

    Then I am truly lucky. I LOVE WRITING! I really take great pleasure from it. It’s almost like a drug to me. I even enjoy editing. Maybe more than I should.

    I do sometimes get irritate with characters and where they want things to go. But I do love it.

  2. Tara Maya

    I think I do write from joy of writing. At any rate, I do experience joy while writing. Not always. At times, I hate, I growl at my story, I loathe what I’ve written and despair of it. But other times, I’m so excited by a scene, I jump up out of my chair and, literally, dance for joy.

    This is the main reason I must write locked alone in my room. I look like an utter idiot.

  3. Debra Young

    I write because I fell in love with reading, I daydream all the time, imagining stuff that doesn’t exist, and once I started writing, I was a goner. It is tough at times–more times than I’d like to admit–but I couldn’t stop doing it for all the world, regardless of the frustration that sometimes occurs. d:)