I have some exciting almost news today. There will be an announcement about our favorite slightly unbalanced scientist, Aunty Ida, a little later on in the week. What’s Monday without a little mystery? So stay tuned, or come back, or whatever it is you can say with blogs, to find out what’s coming.
With that bit of business out of the way, I was reading a book I’d borrowed from the library, by an author I’d always relied on for a quick, funny read. Only this book wasn’t quick–I felt as though I was wading my way through it–and it wasn’t very funny. There was a distinct lack of life in it, for someone who, generally, is a very lively writer.
I couldn’t help but wonder if he had tired of his usual genre, tired of its usual format, and was continuing to write them anyway, for reasons we can’t know on this side of the word processing program. It felt rote and cardboard. Even the characters seemed less than engaged in their own story.
So what do you do when you reach that point? He’s extremely successful, and he’s successful for precisely this kind of book. It’s a problem that we see across the arts; something as intangible as creativity forced into perfectly stacking cubes. Those books of his are the ones that sell, and so the business side of things wants him to keep selling them, I’d imagine.
But what about the writer side? Where is the room for creativity when the business is nearly all that’s there?
It’s a tough equation no matter where you fall on the writing map, and something we all need to keep in mind. Sure, the point is selling books, but when you stop connecting to your work in a way that’s so overt, maybe it’s time to try something new. Yes, sales may decline, but on the other hand, if you turn out work that shows such a lack of enthusiasm for itself, you’ll lose them anyway.
Need something to read? Check out Her Cousin Much Removed, The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .