Okay, I know this seems obvious. I mean, writers write because we love to write, right? (heh, try saying that five times fast) We write the stories that we want to tell. So we're always writing for ourselves, right?
Because we also want to get published, so sometimes we can't help thinking: maybe I should tell THIS kind of story--it might sell better. Or Dreamy Agent X likes THIS kind of book, so maybe I should write that. And even if it doesn't go that far, sometimes it's impossible not to think: I have to finish this draft/revision so I can query/sub it and finally get a book deal.
And it's understandable. Being published is a BIG dream--it's only natural that it would influence us. I know I'm totally guilty of thinking that way. But it also puts a LOT of extra pressure on every word I type when I do it. And it tends to rob me of my joy of writing.
So a while ago I came up with my own solution to the problem, and I thought I'd let you in on the secret. But I'm trusting you guys with this. Everyone agree to keep my secret?
*waits for everyone to nod*
*whispers* I have a sekrit project.
Other than like...three people deep deep DEEP in the inner circle of trust, no one knows what it's about. Not even my agent. (She doesn't even know it exists--shhh--don't tell her!) And I know that might seem strange. Like...why write something and keep it a secret--especially from your agent?
And the answer is: because this one's MINE.
I'm not writing it to please anyone other than myself. If I want to break a rule and do something unconventional--I can. If I want to throw in a joke that I know only *I* will think is funny, I can. If I want to drag out my favorite scenes way longer than they need to be or let my characters run wild, I can. I don't have to think about what readers or agents or editors will want from me. I only think about what *I* want, because it's mine mine all mine.
I know that might seem like a waste of good writing time--but I assure you, it isn't. Because any time I've hit a wall or gotten discouraged or had a bad day and feel like just giving up the whole "being published" dream, I turn to my sekrit project. A couple of scenes just playing around, and I fall back in love with writing. Every. single. time.
Will I ever share my sekrit project with anyone? Maybe... Maybe not. It won't be for a while. I'm sure it'll need some MAJOR revision if I do--it's a hot mess--and I'm not ready for that right now. It's MY hot mess, and I love it just the way it is.
And I can tell you this. If I ever do decide to clue ze agent into ze sekrit project and transform it into ze possibly publishable manuscript, it won't be until I've got another sekrit project tucked safely away. Because I have to sometimes write just for me. It's how I stay sane and keep going through all the ups and downs of this crazy journey. I highly recommend it for any of you. It's amazing what a difference it makes.
But what about you guys? How do you keep from falling out of love with writing? Have you ever tried writing something just for you and you alone?