Writing: It’s Supposed To Be Fun!

I was given free tickets to a classical concert last week in Birmingham’s beautiful Town Hall. I’m not musical but I thought I might like to hum along, or tap my foot.

It was a string quartet. They came on stage, with their instruments and then ignored the audience until the interval.    

The first ‘pieces’ (?) were fine. I managed to stop staring at the ornate ceiling long enough to actually listen to the music. But the next bits were all a bit plinky-plonky. I started to fidget. I almost clapped at the wrong time. I stared down at the (mostly) grey heads in the seats below and counted the number of red jumpers (it was 7).

When we got to ‘half time’ I turned in relief to my companion. “Shall we go to the bar, then?” I said.

He looked at me. “Shall we just go?” 

And it’s the same with writing. By all means, try something new but if it turns out not to be your cup of tea, then stop! Write something you do enjoy and don’t beat yourself up. 

One of my students, encouraged by yours truly, had a go at NaNoWriMo this year but after a week, decided to say ‘No’ to ‘NaNo’. She wasn’t enjoying it. She felt like she was writing rubbish and wasting her time and she wants to do it next year instead, when she’s more prepared. And that’s absolutely fine.

She admitted that the experience has taught her a lot and the 3000 words she got down were still the most she’s ever written. Nothing’s wasted. But it’s good to know when to draw the line.

We left the Town Hall and went for a drink somewhere else, feeling rather liberated (and naughty).

And on the way out I overheard a lovely line from a loud man on the stairs: “And she didn’t even play any Shostakovich!” which I may well use in a story one day….  

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2 Responses to Writing: It’s Supposed To Be Fun!

  1. P Douglas Hammond says:

    I’m rather a music lover (having seen my children go through the grades on piano and various stringed instruments, and four years at music school – something wore of on to me), however, your story reminds me a particularly bad guest speaker at church once.

    After what seemed an age of a very uninteresting sermon that promised to go on for quite a while longer yet, I turned to some friends sitting a few rows behind me and, using well known hand signal, suggested we went for a pint. They agreed.
    We crept discretely from the church and enjoyed an unanticipated brew at the local pub – only to return some time later to find that the sermon was still in full swing; we could have easily had two pints.

    The next week I brought up the subject of this sermon with somebody, who answered ‘Wasn’t he good!’

    I had a go at writing a novel once; I planned for eighty thousand words but got as far as seventy one thousand before I realised how much work there would be involved in editing it.
    I have put it away until such time as I can write better. In the meanwhile, I’ll practice on short stories.

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