For me, creatively, there are three things that I consider the most important: one of them is updating this blog with my thoughts and stories from my life (and reviews), one of them is updating my webcomic and keeping it going with new storylines and the other is writing short stories. I’ll go through periods where my priorities change and I focus more on one than others, but these are the three things I consistently value the most.
I remember a time when the only writing I did was short stories: back then, I didn’t ever want to do any non-fiction. Even when I started keeping this blog, I was a bit unsure as it didn’t seem to fit with my fictional body of work. But slowly I became used to it and now I’m very pleased with the number of reflections and anecdotes which I’ve posted here.
Since leaving university, I’ve been trying hard to work as a writer (in fact, that’s what I do do) but this involves me writing lots of content for various businesses. A lot of the things I write have quite a quite a marketing-angle to them and are things which I’d never just choose to write. I sometimes wonder if things that I write because I have to (rather than because I want to) really have any value.
On a smaller scale, there have been one or two Finger Puppet Show strips and Trusty Water Blog posts which I’ve written so that I don’t miss updates and haven’t been too pleased with; they’re not terrible, but certainly lacking in the substance I like to think my better pieces have. But the thing is, these projects are both things I want to do, whereas blog posts for businesses are things I have to do.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m extremely thankful that I’ve been able to work as a writer and it’s honestly something I really love doing – it is my passion. However, sometimes it makes me feel a little sad to think that my substanceless pieces of marketing will soon outweigh the projects which I put the full extent of my creativity behind. If most of the writing I’ve done is pieces of marketing for various businesses, particularly businesses I know nothing about, do I have much integrity as a writer?
Well, while this is occasionally a thought which makes me a bit sad, I like to think that I still have my integrity. The very first piece of writing I was paid for (a piece about saving money) contained a paragraph on the virtues of keeping a Trusty Water Bottle. I quite enjoyed making that little personal paragraph back to me. This is generally what I like to do, I like to tie in a bit of the projects I care more about. I once created a character called The Content Market Ear and developed it’s story a bit in some blog posts for a business, before later introducing it in my Finger Puppet Show comic.
Sometimes I do write things which don’t have much substance to them and are only really about marketing, but I try to create pieces I’ll really care about as often as possible. At the end of the day, anybody who wants to live as a writer is going to have to write things like this, so I shouldn’t feel bad. After all, it’s extremely rare for someone to publish a novel at a young age and then work exclusively on fiction. Really, I’m extremely lucky that I have a job which I can tie back to my personal projects in any way! Very few people are given much creative freedom in their jobs and I am hugely grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had. This concern is just something that passes my mind every now and then and which I wanted to get out.