New Year’s resolution – the importance of still writing for yourself

Happy new year! I hope you’re all looking forward to 2015, like I am, and to the opportunities and changes it may bring to your creativity.

This was originally going to be a tutorial post, but I didn’t want to overload your New Year’s Eve inboxes and blog readers with something you’ll need a hot water bottle and supply of endless coffee to get through… so I’ll try and keep it on the shorter side πŸ™‚

In a nutshell, when you set out to write for an audience, a target market, remember there’s still time (and a need) to continue to write and be creative for yourself alone.

Whether it’s therapy, or relaxation, or just for entertainment. Whether it’s recording your dreams or memories, or making plans for the future. You need to keep that part of your writing alive – the part that inspired you to write with a purpose in the first place – because nothing tries to suck the joy out of writing more than constantly thinking about deadlines, sales, and financial returns.

If you’re a compulsive writer and it’s something you’ve always done, it’s particularly important to keep writing for yourself, to preserve that feeling of serenity and the internal insights that arise from it. You will find yourself picking up inspiration along the way, and using elements of it in your commercial writing, but allowing yourself to BE yourself in your creativity, and taking time out from the ‘author’ side of it, is what will help prevent any disillusionment, doom and gloom taking over.

You don’t ever have to make your personal creativity public. Like a diary, you can write it in quill and ink in endless notebooks, or record them aloud using your phone, tablet, or computer. Keep your spontaneity going! It will do your mind and spirit good, as well as positively enhance your professional efforts.

Although I put quite a lot out there commercially, most of my creativity is still personal – I’m still developing my skills and different genre styles away from the marketplace. I still experiment and play with ideas, counsel myself with writing, and use other art forms like sewing, knitting, customising and painting to relax.

One of my longest writing therapy projects did eventually end up in novel form, and because I feel silly/embarrassed promoting it commercially – to me, it’s therapy I wrote for myself, in the guise of narrative fiction (written nearly seven years ago now!) – I give it away in regular Kindle ebook freebies, so a few times a year you’ll find it listed as free:

Death & The City: Cut to the Chase Edition

Β Death & The City: Cut to the Chase Edition onΒ Amazon UKΒ &Β – search for it on your regional Amazon site as prompted by clicking here on the product page.

This is the version I made more reader-friendly by including shortcuts through the text, meaning you can skip through the internal monologue as prompted and read it more as an action novel, or read the whole thing in linear fashion as a semi-literary one. That was one of my technical experiments in ebook formatting that I’m quite proud of – you can see how it works by checking out the description and the ‘Look Inside’ preview on Amazon.

I’m still in two minds as to whether publishing it (unedited) was the true outcome or purpose, but in terms of the therapeutic side of writing, I definitely came out the other side feeling better for it, both internally and creatively. And having it out there, rather than filed away and forgotten, is a small reminder to me that writing therapy and self-analysis is worthwhile to some of us artistic types – even if no-one else reads it πŸ™‚

I hope you all have a very happy and creative new year, and remember to make time for yourself in the process!

L xxx

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24 thoughts on “New Year’s resolution – the importance of still writing for yourself

  1. What a lovely post! Really enjoyed reading. I only followed you recently but I’m very excited to read more. Writing for yourself is really important, I agree!

    Happy New Year!

    Twitter – @aishacm96

  2. Im new to expressing myself through writing, I have so many wonderful thoughts, feelings, ideas, but I find it hard to get it out the right way. Do you have any advice for beginner writers?

  3. Thank you Lisa. I decided to start writing for myself not for a audience. I just needed a place to record my feelings at that moment in time. If someone other than me reads it thats fine, if not thats fine as well. I am still learning how to use WordPress so thats one hurdle I’m trying to get over. I faced my fear of trying to write because my spelling and punctuation is horrible but then I said to hell with that to. Who cares anyway right!

    • Exactly, those are skills that are learned through the physical process of writing – so the more you write (especially for yourself), the more your eye for punctuation and spelling will improve, with practise. Good luck, and thank you! πŸ™‚

  4. An interesting concept – the collapsible book! I couldn’t imagine wasting any words in a book, and not reading them would feel like that. Amazon makes me buy from the Australian site.

    • Thanks Christine πŸ™‚ With the digital platform, a lot of discussion at London Book Fair that year focused on the relationships between ebooks and gaming – ebooks were already being written in a ‘choose your own adventure’ style – but those books don’t give the reader the luxury of reading chronologically, page-by-page if they wished – like the old paperback adventure books, you made a choice of what our hero did next and then navigated to the next relevant section – the pages don’t even have to appear in order. Those books disappointed me as a child (the print books) because I wanted the option of relaxing and reading the story in order and for it to make sense, not being made to feel I had to direct the story as well and was constantly making bad decisions in my hero’s outcome πŸ™‚ I think I would definitely attempt another of these, and maybe even include an adventure element. The creative technical challenge appeals to me πŸ™‚

  5. I’m new to this blogging thing; heck maybe six years ago I had no clue what the “word” meant until an episode of NCIS. But, I have been writing for my own amusement pretty much since the beginning. Whether or not anyone wants to read it, well, I suppose every author has to deal with that. Maybe we should all be like Margaret Mitchell or Harper Lee: write the Great American Novel, collect our Pulitzer, and then walk away. You are correct of course. We all write for ourselves. A handful make a living at it. I enjoyed your post though and will be following you. Here’s to a productive and creative 2015!

    • Thank you πŸ™‚ I think the trend in the last decade has steered writers so much toward self-promotion that they feel every word they put down, or even say, has to involve some sort of investment in their career. Unless you’re one of the fortunate ones, as you mention, it’s not the best hourly rate on Earth. For example, an author who corners someone at a party where they’re meant to be relaxing, deciding to take the opportunity to recruit a new fan or gain a review on Amazon, may spend two hours or so chatting up someone they determine to be a book-lover, and finally get them to download a copy to Kindle – in order to make 35 cents. (And the review the author hopes for is very rarely forthcoming, and their new friend will avoid them at the next party if the word ‘book’ or author’ is in the air at all). If as a writer you decide to spend a social occasion ‘working’ – offer to wash up glassware instead, or walk dogs, or stay sober and drive folk home. You might make $20-$30 tip from a grateful host πŸ™‚ So writing should be a fun hobby. As an hourly rate, it’s borderline illegal in most of the world to call it a real job πŸ˜€ Lx

  6. Actually, Girl, you are truly an inspiration. I am on the fence about taking to the “next level”. $$$$$$$$$$ I am not tech savvy, but I can do it. The problem??? I am retired. I have other interests. I do not want to sit in front of my computie for 40+++ hours to earn pennies. That is sooooooo beneath me because my money from my writing, photography, editing, etc., etc., etc. came in the late 70s and 80s. It counted because I NEVER EVER had to pay back a college loan because I worked full-time (with some gigs on the side) and carried as many as 26 units at CSU, Sacramento (AKA Sac State). The beauty of writing well means that you have a VOICE. Try telling that to the many liars online who don’t have it in them to write. I am so tired of wading through the garbage. But when I find someone like YOU, YOU, YOU, I will follow to the end of TIME. I will always support good writing, great writers who stand above THE PACK and the publishing industry (in any form). I can write anything but technical. Believe me. I tried to put a computer together, but I blew it up just by putting one of those things in backward. Who cares??? The cute guy in class (sitting next to moi) was way too cute to ignore. Let me learn how to use my KINDLE. Hubby bought it for me, but he will help me with it when he quits working all that overtime for me to spend. Then I will happily load the work of my BOFF-Os (Best Onlie Friends Forever). Happy New Year!!! So glad I found you–my newest BOFF-O . . .

    • I agree with you 100%, it’s far too easy to lose touch with oneself and the outside world when stuck in front of a computer monitor. Writing for enjoyment and catharsis is its first purpose, to me. Marketing is right down at the bottom – below the needs of housework, let alone all my other hobbies! πŸ˜€ Glad to connect with you too πŸ™‚ L

      • Girlfriend: I am such a JACKASS when it comes to tech. More power to you because Google really effe’d me up. And so did Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Roseville when they assigned me a PRISON doctor by the name of Dr. Aileen Yap-Lacap. 38 years old. Narcissistic FOB (yes, I can say that because I am and American-born, firstborn Filipino-Sicilian. It ain’t all that when it comes to retirement. I had been diagnosed bi-polar (actually, I’d rather call it by my 1973 “term”–manic-depressive). Bi-polar reminds me of polar bears. I AM a MANIC KIND OF GIRL. Don’t wanna be anything else. Anywhoooooo, hop on a plane and come to Sacramento. I don’t know what kind of law you practice, but I need a couple of attorneys. Or not. This crap with Kaiser has been going on since April 15. I have locked and loaded on all the documentation that could retire me forever. Actually, I wouldn’t mind establishing a charitable trust to help anyone succeed in life. That’s who I am. My life is a spiritual one. I see good in all people. As for Google, I’m done. Everything is wiped out. The slate is clean. Until I get my life together, I can’t write. Lucky for me, Poma is Italian. Via Magellan. I don’t know what it is about people and “Asian Persuasion,” but they are so wrong to judge. The United States is nothing but a melting pot. Beautiful people working together to make it work. Love to you, Girl. I am so done with Google. Will catch up with everyone later. DIVORCE is in the future for me, so this Urban Shotcaller is cleaning house. Believe me. It ain’t too pretty for 2nd and FINAL hubby #2. He ain’t gonna know what hit him. Pity the Fool who thinks marriage is forever. I am soooooooo done. Just me and my two boys. The precious fur kids who now share my bed. THANK GOD FOR THE USA AND DIVORCE. I ain’t done Dr. Aileen Yap-Lacap, Kaiser and Company just yet. My mental illness label is a gift from God. And as a red personality, I see beauty in everything. KAISER PERMANENTE ROSEVILLE, CALIFORNIA, let’s do this CDC (California Department of Corrections, Pelican Bay State Prison style). Better grab your ass and run. The Godmutha is also a professional writer, journalist and photographer from waaaaaaaaay back. All writers have a voice. Use it for the GOOD. Not for the pennies. Take care, MY DEAR FRIEND. Life is so grand to this Gemini. I llllllooooovvvvveee crazy!!!!!!!

      • Ooooops. Sorry, Lisa. Wrong Lisa, but she is no longer with me. Haven’t posted anything in months, so be flattered that I ranted to you. No harm intended. LOL!!!! I really need to get a grip on myself. NOT!!!!!! I’m finally good with retirement, my dear. Make it work before you KICK!!!!! Yeah, baby!!!!!!!

      • Ah, no problem πŸ™‚ Glad you are getting it out of your system, nothing worse than a ton of creative expression and life circumstance frustration with no outlet for either weighing you down πŸ™‚ Hope it all goes well x

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