Friday, December 4, 2015

Secret side projects

Once you start writing for publication, an expectation and a pressure can develop, to find a market for everything you write. (This is obviously and especially true if writing becomes your main source of income.) This expectation and pressure can be invigorating. I know that I found it inspiring when I got my first book contract. I was extra motivated by the increased certainty of an audience.

At other times, the expectations of an audience--whether a real or hypothetical audience--can interfere with the process, tilting a writer away from the story she's telling and toward approval seeking, second-guessing, belittling.

Lately, I've found it useful to pursue separate categories of projects: some intended for publication, others just for me. With the latter, I don't have to please anyone but myself. I don't have to be perfect, or even finish. I can try anything, explore anything. It's utter freedom, and reminds me why I write in the first place.

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