Not all that is read will be written

I’m beginning to suspect something that I didn’t really want to know: just because I enjoy reading a certain kind of book it doesn’t mean that I’ll enjoy writing it.

I thought my writer’s task was simple: write what I’ll love reading. My favourite genres are historical and fantasy, with lots of drama and plot. I like elegant prose but dislike density; there’s no way to feel excited about reading a story which forces you to crawl through it. I think good writing is tucked into the nooks and crannies of the story rather than placed in the middle of a book.

I had all of these ideas about what I like to read, and my ideas were mostly true. I thought it’d be easy to write what I like to read—all I’d have to do was to put pen to paper and the words would come. But when I try to write, my mind wanders away towards, of all genres, humour.

Why? I haven’t been attracted to humour as a genre since my childhood. It’s a rare day when I’m in the mood for a book that makes me laugh. But it seems to be what I find easiest and most pleasurable to write; I can while away hours trying to be funny on paper. Plotting, by contrast, is draining, despite the fact that it’s the page-turners that I adore the most.

I don’t know how to deal with this problem—it’s a strange day when what always made you happy doesn’t seem to fit anymore. I think writing, and by extension, creating, might be that way—paradoxical. As per my former resolution, I’ve decided to acknowledge and embrace the oddities of writing rather than to let them upset me. I’m already in love with reading, but it appears that the love of writing is something I’ll have to discover separately. I admit, I never thought I’d have to work to enjoy this; I thought fondness for all things fiction would come to me naturally.

I haven’t allowed my puzzling lack of enthusiasm for plotting stop me from sketching in some more rough lines in my draft, though. Progress is painstakingly slow, but after every writing session, I can honestly say that I’m closer to my first novel than I was before. The most important thing is to make a habit out of writing; I’ll never become better at this, or better at liking this, unless I stick to it.

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