Writers write. If it’s possible to boil our craft down to one simple truth, no matter what our backgrounds or specializations are, it’s this: writers write. And often, we really love doing it.

Occasionally though, there are times where we writers hate writing, or find ourselves becoming disillusioned with it. This can happen for a number of reasons, but in my general experience, writers tend to go through these phases where they just don’t want to write when the business side of writing, or things in our personal lives, starts having a negative effect on the act of writing itself. Recently, a friend of mine talked about how, for a while, writing was starting to lose its appeal to her, to the point where she wasn’t enjoying storytelling and was thinking about quitting. She later realized that was because, in order to keep her sales up, she was writing stories that she wrote to sell well.

Of course, all writers who sell their work write stories they think will sell well, but it’s not usually the main goal. Usually, we write stories we ourselves want to read or stories we feel we need to tell and would have fun doing it. My friend was writing stories that were designed to sell, but were not necessarily stories she enjoyed writing. Her field was becoming so crowded, she felt she needed to write this way in order to compete. But all it really did for her was make writing less of a fun activity but a chore.

It was only when she realized that she needed to get back to writing stories she felt passionate about and decided to stop doing stories calculated to do well in a crowded field that she started to enjoy writing again.

Similarly, I’ve been feeling a little out of sorts with writing for a while now. I still enjoy the act, and I’m not sure there’s anything that would make me hate writing, but then some things came up:

Back in March, when I found out Rose was going to be published by an actual publishing company, I was ecstatic. I was on a high that lasted for a whole week and a half, like pure joy had somehow been pumped into my bloodstream. But soon after that, the company sent me back my manuscript with notes, and the feedback they gave me…well, they noted many issues with Rose. Issues that really brought down my high. I’ve been working on this novel for about four years now, and just seeing so many problems pointed out wasn’t pleasant.

The fact that the novel needed so many rewrites didn’t help either.

Not only that, but there was some stuff in my personal life that I was dealing with, personal stuff that I’m still dealing with. I won’t go into details (not because I’m not comfortable talking about it, it just doesn’t feel like the right time to do so), but the first couple of months of 2018, while still full of good things for me, had some unexpected obstacles and issues that weren’t widely reported outside of a close circle of a select number of individuals.

It’s crazy how this anime could get me out of my funk so easily. God, I love you, Sailor Moon.

Those obstacles and issues, as well as seeing all that needed fixing with Rose, just sort of brought down my enjoyment of writing in general. And I wondered how I would get it back.

This evening though, I had the weirdest pep talk from the most unexpected source: Sailor Moon (bare with me here). As you guys know, I LOVE Sailor Moon. It’s one of my favorite anime ever, and I’ve loved it since I was a kid. Recently, the first half of Season 4 was released on DVD with a new, more faithful dub (meaning original Japanese names and no editing to make the story more appropriate for children), and this week my copy from the library came in, so obviously I’m bingeing it this weekend.

Here’s where the pep talk comes in: one of the episodes from that season involves a friend of Sailor Jupiter who happens to be a novelist. The novelist has recently suffered some personal setbacks, and they’ve made it difficult for her to write. But by the end of the episode, through the intervention of Sailor Jupiter (and a vision of a winged unicorn, but that’s beside the point), she regains the will and inspiration to write.

All throughout that episode, I felt like it was talking to me. I saw myself in the writer, and every time a character offered her encouragement, I felt like I was the one getting the encouragement. By the end of the episode, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of me. Yes, I still have personal things to deal with, and Rose still needs a lot of work, and they’ll continue to plague me for the foreseeable future. But I’ve got it in me to keep writing and editing and get this story to the point where my publisher will put it out there. And after that, I have over a thousand stories I could pick from to tell, with a few more coming to me each month. The possibilities are endless!

And all because I decided to binge-watch Sailor Moon this weekend (one of these days, I’ll have to blog about how much this show and its characters mean to me).

So what’s next? Well, I’m going to go back and rewatch that episode, and I’ll see if I can keep myself from crying while I watch it. And after that? I think I’ll email my publisher, and we’ll talk about my proposed edits for Rose. And then I’ll get back to writing. Because after all, I am a writer. And what do writers do? Why, write. That’s what we do.

And that’s what I’m going to do, now with a renewed sense of purpose. And I can’t wait to get started.

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Comments
  1. I think it’s pretty much the business side of writing that ruins it for most writers. When you try to create art not for the sake of the art itself, but for money, it is a very tight spot. Sometimes it can work, and sometimes not.

    Glad you found that episode, though! Sending you good vibes on all fronts!

    • Thanks Joleene. And you want to know what’s crazy? The very next episode was about a woman who was losing her dream but then found the courage to keep going. There were even lines in the episode about how hard it is to achieve and maintain a dream, and how we shouldn’t give up on our dreams. I was like, “I don’t remember this show being so attuned to my personal problems.”

  2. Isn’t it great when something we’re watching has a message that relates to our situation? I think stuff like that isn’t a coincidence. I think we come across it for a reason.

    I agree with Joleene. The business side of writing is the sucky part. I know some authors who love it, and they do very well with sales because of it. But it was draining the life out of me. And I guess this begs a good question: do books sell well because they’re good or do they sell well because the author is a savvy business person?

    • I think I’ll go with because they’re good, though I know that Charles Dickens wrote many of his stories while considering the business side of things, to the point he used reader feedback to better his novels.

      Then again, I dislike Dickens heartily, so what does that tell you?

      • I heard he wrote A Christmas Carol simply for the money, so I’m not surprised he was only going for the business side of things. I tried reading one of his books once and had to stop a few pages in. I couldn’t get into this style of writing. Maybe this is why.

      • I find most Victorian novels difficult to get through. Which is sad, because I love that time period, and have more than a couple of ideas for stories set during that era.

  3. Adan Ramie says:

    I was having a similar issue recently until the other day I was sitting in a waiting room and decided to pull out my phone. I never write on it, but for some reason, I just did it. I texted myself a long passage for my work in progress that actually ended up going well with the story. Who knew?

    Rose might be getting you down, but we all know how talented you are, Rami. You’ll get there.

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