When it comes to writing a romance book, or a book of any type, taking your art too seriously is a great way to face a seemingly insurmountable road block.
You see, when an artist, and that includes romance writers – you’re an artist, takes themselves or their work too seriously, they end up…
- striving for perfection – it doesn’t exist
- becoming disenchanted by the creative process
- losing their passion and joy for the creative process
- having extremely high expectations of both the process and the outcome
Okay, so how do you know if you’re taking the process too seriously? I mean, you do want to treat writing like it’s your job, right? You do want to put words down on paper, do your best work, and achieve your romance writing goals, right? So what does it mean to be “too serious?”
You may be too serious if…
- you’re completely unable to finish a book because it’s not perfect yet.
- you’ve lost your enthusiasm for the story and the process
- you’d rather do anything than work on your book
- you’re out of ideas or believe that “it’s all been done”
- you believe that your work just doesn’t compare to other people’s books
Think you may be taking the creative process too seriously? Here are a few ideas to help you let loose a little bit, enjoy being a writer more, and probably create a much better story in the process.
Remember when you were a little kid..?
When my youngest daughter was little, she used to draw picture after picture after picture. Each piece was met with the same unbridled enthusiasm. She didn’t care if the picture was better than what other 4 year olds would draw. She didn’t care if it was her best work or if it had been done before. She was simply gleeful about the process of creating.
Ideally, that’s how you should feel when you’re writing.
Write with abandon. Write because it feels good and you enjoy the creative process. Write because you’re an artist and it’s what you want to do. Create that “shitty first draft” and roll around in the creation of it like a pig in mud.
Then, once your beautiful creation is down on paper, you can go back and make tweaks to your book. But take care to not spend too much time on the editing process. Use critique partners and editors to help you get through this process efficiently. Then get your book out there and start your next project. Embrace the creative process for what it is and what it has to offer you. Think about why you’re a writer and the story you have to tell. The money and the book sales are more likely to follow if you’re passionate about your art.
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
I think the wise and wonderful Anne Lamott is onto something here.