Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Writing?

by Jerrica, Her Grace of Grammar


I've started to notice a pattern, not just in my life, but in the lives of many artists, whether they be writers, performers, painters, etc... And that pattern indicates that the happier you are in real life, the less likely you are to produce work...or quality work, at least.

Okay, I might be exaggerating, and I'm sure there are people out there who have perfectly fantastic lives and still manage to pump out quality art...I, myself, manage to do it from time to time, but I'm not nearly as prolific as I used to be.

5.5 years ago when I began to write, I was in a poopy place in life. I had my husband, but that was about it. Our living environment sucked. We were in a 5th floor, pre-war walk-up in Harlem, which some might immediately think of as "charming," but let me set the record straight. There's nothing charming about roach colonies living behind your kitchen cabinets. Or thumping ghetto music coming through your walls at all hours of the night. Or your bathroom ceiling caving in at 2am because the sheet rock couldn't handle the mold anymore. If you find that charming, then there's something wrong with you.

Oh, and we had no money. So yeah...pretty much sucked. But what I did have was writing. A beautiful, glorious escape from my crappy apartment, my empty bank account and my multi-legged roommates.

At the time, my husband was working a weekend job at an investment bank -- 12 hours Saturday, 12 hours Sunday. So I holed myself away, clickety-clicking at my keyboard, thousands upon thousands of words, stories and scenarios swirling through my head. Writer's Block didn't exist in those days. And amazingly, I had tons of time to read too! I'd call them the "Good ol' days," but well...see the part about the roach colonies...

So fast forward a couple of years to us living in a stunning apartment, with our own business that was actually making us money for the first time in our life together. Writing started to get a little harder. I'd go through periods of procrastination and call it Writer's Block. I'd blow off my characters to go do something fun that I hadn't been able to afford before -- like a movie or shopping or bar hopping. But I still had my cushy part time job where I was able to write in quiet for 15 hours  a week, and I was still slightly unhappy because I wasn't getting pregnant, so I had *some* fuel for my fire.

But then, well, things got awesome. I got pregnant, we moved to an even bigger and better apartment, the business took off, the books took off, I had my daughter, I made tons of new friends, the businesses continued to thrive...

And then we moved to paradise.

Somehow I thought that moving here would spark my creativity. That life would slow down and I'd be on the beach, all prolific again.

Well, I *am* on the beach right now, sitting under a cabana, typing this blog as I stare out at the ocean, and guess what...

I got nuthin'. Zilch. I'm too darn happy, people! And I can't write when everything is so darn perfect!

But would I trade it? Would I trade this incredible life to be able to pump out 3-4 books a year like I used to? Nah. I don't think so.

However, what I *am* going to do is march myself over to the mall, sit on Santa's lap, and tell him that what I really, really, really want for Christmas is to have my cake and eat it too. I want this awesome life AND I want to be able to pump out 3 books a year with the same ease I pumped them out 5 years ago.

What about you? As a writer, or an artist of any kind, do you struggle with producing your art when you're happy? And when you go sit on Santa's lap this year, what will you ask him for??


23 comments:

  1. Well, I'm not a writer or an artist, however, I wouldn't trade my happy life for anything. Frustration and worry are just awful. I've been there in life when I was working, raising children and dealing with health issues. However, I'm retired with my wonderful husband and living in Paradise too. Life is good. Period. I'm happy and I don't need anything else. Er...other than lots of books to read! :-)

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    1. Isn't paradise wonderful, Connie! I'm so glad you've found your happy place and that life is good for you :)

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    2. Thank you! Nothing beats this unusually warm weather we're having right now. It's marvelous for boosting the old morale!

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  2. Well, I think I'm really lucky - Writing makes me happy and miserable all at once, so the words keep coming, lol. I'm blessed to have a wonderful life. Yes, I write slower than I want to, but I guess having a life does require some time away from the keyboard ;)
    Enjoy the sunshine, my dear! And the happiness :)

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    1. Isn't that the conundrum...life requiring time away from the keyboard! Ugh! But I think it's wonderful you seem to have found a balance, Erin :)

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  3. [ Enter Beezlebub. ] ;-) Be careful, don't strike any inadvisable deals to get your mojo back, my dear. LOL. I think you should rest on your laurels for a little while and enjoy it. You'll write again when you've adjusted to your newfound happiness and get a little bored with all the sunshine and ocean spray. (That's bound to happen, right? Or is that just my jealousy speaking? ;-) Or maybe another metamorphosis is in store for you, career-wise . . . you just never know! Let it unfold! :-)

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    1. Oh, don't worry, Jody...no deals going down here! And I'll continue to rest on my laurels, although, I don't know that I'll ever get bored of the sunshine and ocean spray. LOL! You might be right about yet another career metamorphosis...I'm always open to whatever the Universe has in store, so...stay tuned! LOL!

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  4. Oops -- spelled that wrong: Beelzebub. Shame on me! ;-) The Devil's in the details, lol . . .

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  5. First of all... I don't sit on old men's laps. ;) I don't care how jolly they are. LOL

    But as for being content, I can completely get that. For many years, writing was my escape from every day life. It allowed me to create my own world, that I then got to be 100% in charge of. If I was "happy", I tended to write things a little darker. And if I was sad or going through a rough patch, I tended to write things lighter and fluffier. It was like I needed a balance in my life, the light with the dark, and writing gave that to me. In fact, I'm pretty sure it saved me from going over the bend when my ex-husband "fell in love with someone else" and walked out the front door.

    These days, however, I'm SO happy with my lot in life, it is more difficult to keep my butt in a chair and escape to that make believe land. After all, the land I'm living in now is pretty great, so there's no need to escape it.

    That came to a bit of a halt, however, when The Scientist said to me, "I guess I can't tell people my girlfriend is an author anymore. I'll have to tell them she used to be an author."

    That got my butt back in a chair. ;)

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    1. YIKES! That would definitely be a wake up call! LOL! What did you do when Scientist said that to you??? I totally imagine you opening your mouth to say something, closing it again, and then excusing yourself to go find your laptop. LOL!

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    2. LOL! You know me so well. That's exactly what I did!!

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  6. I have to say I need a happy medium to be able to write. I tend to not write when things get too sour. I tend to put it off for later if stress and worry are sitting on my shoulders 24/7. But then again I can't imagine that I would want to write if I lived in paradise either, though I don't think I'd trade it for the world lol. Although paradise is on my agenda someday, I just have to get there. So a happy medium seems to be what is needed. I wrote beautifully several years ago before all the craziness of my life came about. Though life wasn't grand, but it wasn't awful with multi-legged creatures either. And I've been there before as well and I'm trying desperately not to return to that life again. I'm certain I'll work it out somehow though. I always manage to pull through. I think we're all capable of making it through those tough times, we just have to have a little faith in ourselves sometimes. My paradise is on the horizon though, I just know it! lol. I'm so glad you've found yours though, your story gives me hope, Jerrica. It truly is so inspiring. And the best part of it all is that we have great friends who understand us and help us get through it. Great blog and I say enjoy your paradise, you totally deserve some time off. =D

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  7. Suzie, you've paid your dues in full, young lady! Your paradise is SO close! I can feel it! Just keep your eye on the prize!!

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  8. Congrats on finding your paradise, Jerrica! I think you'll find your way back. You've been crazy busy with the move and everything else, you deserve a little down time. The writing bug is hard to shake, I'll bet money you'll start to feel the itch again!

    In the meantime, enjoy the happiness!

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    1. Oh, I hope you're right, Deb! I definitely *want* to write again! :)

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  9. I could so easily write on the beach and ignore the world *sigh*. I tend to do my best writing when I am too busy to write. When I don't have a gazillion things going on and have time to write that is when my characters decide to take a holiday. But, the more emotional my life is the easier it is to write because I need that escape and can pull on those emotions even if the emotions of my life don't match those in the story.

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    1. Exactly...emotion, drama, all that crap makes for good writing!! But since you can write so easily on the beach, may I suggest a little sojourn south??? :)

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  10. Jerrica, I love to write, but I have to say it causes a huge imbalance in my life. I write to the (desired) exclusion of everything else. I'm a happier wife and mother when I'm not writing, but then I feel guilty and anxious until I hit the keyboard. I can't win!!! ;}

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    1. It's so hard, isn't it?!?!? This balancing act! Argh! I hope you're able to find a nice balance eventually!

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  11. I do my best writing when I'm happy! When I'm unhappy I can't get anything done!

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    1. LUCKY!! I'm so super jealous, Julie! I need to learn from you! LOL!

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