Writing can be a lot of fun -- you get to create a world, characters, and bring something to life.
But it can also be work.
Editing is very hard (but necessary) work. Writing on deadline. Work. Writing the book you have to write instead of the book you want to write. Also work. Maintaining life balance. Work. Promoting. Work.
Well...you get the idea.
All this work can sometimes suck the creativity right out of your writing and you have to push hard to get through it, because when you're on deadline, it's not like you can just stop. Sometimes a rampant personal life can also drain your creative juices and make it difficult to want to write, to create, even if it previously was what got you through such things.
Unfortunately, sometimes writing stops being fun.
I had this happen to me twice in 2013.
The first time was last spring. I had a lot of crazy going on personally and professionally. Even though I knew I needed to write something, anything, to keep the momentum going, I didn't want to. I was watching wayyy to much Pitch Perfect and baking too many cupcakes instead.
Then, Missy spouted off a ridiculous what if. I kept thinking about it. I found myself reading some books, researching some things online.
And then I started to write.
Every night I'd read her what I wrote that day and she'd give me her ideas and suggestions. We wrote something that was both meaningful, but silly. We used proper story structure, and created (what I hope was) a viable story. But at the same time, we gave no actual though to what was marketable.
Our story choices reflected this. We wrote for ourselves. There were Pitch Perfect and Jennifer Lawrence homages. Cupcakes. Fuzzy Bunnies. Combat boots with flowers. Knitted hats. Puppies. Princesses. And pretty much everything else you might expect when your writing partner is a nine-year-old.
When we finished, we started book 2.
Every day I'd try to write an entire chapter so I'd have something to read to her at bedtime. I did a lot of research, but it was fun research and I found myself drawing upon the master's degree I enjoyed getting but never ever use. She learned more about story structure than she probably ever wanted to know.
At some point in time writing became fun for me again.
Most of all, we did it together. We'd laugh and create and look at pictures on pinterest.
We never ever gave thought to anyone reading this but us. After all, it was so us, no one else would probably ever get it. Even the Hubby didn't get it.
Eventually, w had to stop partway through book 3 because I had to get back to work and make Charmed Vengeance edits. But the important lessons had been learned.
We haven't forgotten our series. We still have little in jokes about our characters, like one who won't eat anything ending in -ito, a joke we make pretty much every time we're in the chip section of the grocery store. Or we'll pick out shoes for our MC or cupcake recipes we think she might like to bake.
I'd love if one day our story say the light of day, but at the same time, that's not as important as the fact that a) it helped me rediscover that joy in writing and b) I wrote something with my daughter.
Sometimes writing for ourselves is even more important than writing for everyone else, even if it will never delight anyone but ourselves.
After all, if the author isn't happy, no one is happy.
What do you do to rekindle the spark when writing stops being fun?