Latest NYC Midnight challenge done. The “open genre” challenge took me to a place I never thought I’d go, so I guess that’s a good thing. It’s good to surprise and challenge ourselves, right? The Mr says it’s “chilling”, so hopefully it does the trick to get me through to round 2. Last year in the same comp, I absolutely bombed my second challenge, so as long as I do better than that, I’ll be happy!
But the purpose of the post is not to gloat about finishing/show my self-doubt AGAIN.
I had an interesting conversation with a colleague this week. Said colleague is also doing the fiction thing out of hours, although more along the script track than the novel. He asked, out of the blue: “Do you think our work helps or hinders our creative ambitions?” And it’s a good question.
I had to think about it.
On the one hand, we’re used to writing a lot. We spend all day in front of the computer, writing and editing. Journalism hones your talent, makes you write tighter, learn how to get rid of the deadwood, makes you focus.
On the other hand, we’re used to writing a lot. We spend all day in front of the computer, writing and editing!
Writing was always my childhood ambition. I wanted to be an author. I was always writing little stories as a kid, and seemed to do not so bad with it. And then my Year 5 teacher told me there was no money in it, and I should be a journalist to pay the bills.
And so journalism called.
And stripped me of all my creativity.
Working for the evil empire made me hate writing. I wanted out. I couldn’t deal with it.
But since I stopped the newspaper journalism, and moved to the UK, and sorted my life out, the creativity has been creeping back. Four years out of editorial made me miss it, and I’ve since gone back into journalism (albeit agency-side). I’m writing again, and really, really enjoying it. The creativity is coming back.
So, my job is both a help and a hindrance. It’s just a question of channelling the energy away from the latter and focussing on the former.