When reviewing potential gigs, I have to choose between applying for writing gigs and editing gigs. Although both involve playing with words, they require different mindsets and skill sets. Frankly, this year has not been good for writing, especially for writing fiction.
Editing takes less emotional investment. I don’t have to create; I can massage what already exists and make it better. My paid freelance work this year has focused primarily on editing.
Writing nonfiction doesn’t seem to drain me as much as writing fiction does. Nonfiction doesn’t really demand that creative spark. It pulls less on emotion. I have a stronger emotional attachment to fiction than to nonfiction. I’ve also found that, if I have a client’s outline or other plot summary/notes, I still can write fiction and do a good job of it. Maybe because it’s the client’s concept rather than mine?
That shift in business focus doesn’t mean I’ve lost the sense of what makes a good story. If anything, it has sharpened that sense, because it takes better quality now to capture and hold my interest. Maybe this is a sign of maturity and refinement, but I suspect it’s more a sign of the mental and emotional fatigue imposed by grief.
So, should I write or edit? The answer is, as usual, it depends.