How to Enjoy Writing: A Book of Aid and Comfort — love this title! When I pulled this guide by Janet and Isaac Asimov off my shelf and leafed through it, a passage just leaped out at me:
“To be a writer means to write when the weather is beautiful outside; it means to write when you could be resting or talking or visiting or doing all sorts of pleasant things; it means to write not because you are happy writing so much as that you are unhappy not writing.
“And most of all, to be a writer means to write whether there is any reward or not. That is why a writer finds it so difficult to overcome the feeling of annoyance at any interference with his writing whether from a friend, from an editor, or even a person whom he loves above all else.
“Of course the help is meant to improve his writing, and of course it may end up improving his writing and increasing his success. In his heart, however, he doesn’t want to improve or be successful; he wants to put the material that is swelling in him on paper and the process is so individual and so private that it cannot be interfered with without spoiling it somewhat. A professional writer will make alterations when demanded, but I have never known one to do so without grumbling….
“Write for the pleasure of writing only and never think of whether what you write is “good” or “bad.” Do you wonder whether the echo of your footsteps is good or bad, whether the blink of your eye is good or bad? Writing is a bodily function for a writer and it is what it is.
“It may be wise to give up the illusion of being a famous writer, a renowned writer — but it is never an illusion to think of being just a writer. That is a matter between you and yourself.”
Isaac Asimov surely ranks as one of the most prolific writers in the world.: Over his long career, he penned 350 books. He was staggeringly prolific, but freely admitted that he often sacrificed quality to speed. Still, there’s something wonderful about the headlongedness of his writing approach and his bold advice to “never think of whether what you write is ‘good’ or ‘bad.'” What a difference it can make if we write for “pleasure only” in the first blush of our drafts! Something to ponder and apply today as we write on.