Making writing fun

Joe’s Post #130

writers tearsOr rather, making it fun, again.

When did I lose the fun of writing?

Being me, I want to quantify, analyze, decipher why. I want to get to a solution and a haul my sorry butt back into that magical place where I loved sitting in a chair and making sh*t up.

So I go back in time (in my head, not a hot tub). Back, long ago, when the earth was not yet formed and there were no cell phones, when the Canucks had those horrible yellow uniforms and when I would sit down and actually write for fun.

You know, to tell a story.

I had no delusions of being published. I didn’t have a critique group. I didn’t even have a fancy-schmancy laptop. I just had a story in my mind that I needed to write about. Needed to tell.

Looking back, I see myself sitting at my desk, listening to Every Rose Has A Thorn (or secretly bobbing around to Straight Up), and I realize I had one thing that I don’t have now. I had faith in myself.

I think that’s where it’s all gone wrong. I’ve not only lost the fun, but faith.

Perhaps it’s not surprising. I can see how I got there. The first rejections led to me wanting to know more about writing, to do better. That led to books and conferences and workshops and exercises and rewrites and critique groups and…

elements of fictionI worked on plot, pacing, voice, character, theme, structure, description, and setting. I learned how to writer better dialogue, to hook readers in and out of a chapter, to create tension and suspense. I tried my hardest to be the best writer I could possibly be.

And yet, I still failed to get published.

It’s bummed me out, man, and I lost faith.

Oh, hey, don’t get me wrong. All those things taught me to be a better writer. But the simple truth is, that’s not enough. Certainly not enough now.

One key ingredient was missing. A good story. Something that would grab other people’s imaginations. Something that they’d want to read about.

I remember pitching a book I loved, the book I wrote for the 5/5/5 challenge. No one was interested. Not even a little. No one cared if I could write a great paragraph or had all sorts of tension. The decision was made quickly based on how well I sold the story idea.

But that didn’t stop me. I went back to the drawing board and tried to learn how to write EVEN BETTER, to write a story everyone would love to read and one that would have all sorts of plot and themie-things and epic dialogue and steamy sex and wonderful descriptions and all of that.

And therein lies the problem. You can probably see it.

I got too much into my head. Too many voices. I was trying to do too many things. Trying to satisfy other people.

Back in the day, long ago, I wasn’t in my head thinking, gosh, I need to make sure my character arc is complimented by the theme. Or that I need to make sure I have a whammo opening line.

I just wrote.

For fun.

For myself and a few friends.

IMG_2145It’s why I love to blog so much. I just write. I make mistakes in grammar or spelling and I’m not even convinced anyone but my friends are reading the blog, but I do it because I love it. I love exploring my life in the justjoe blog. (Oh and please, please, please check it out!!!) I love writing about writing in the 5/5/5 blog.

So I haven’t really lost the love of writing, have I? What I’ve lost is the love of novel writing.

I’m still not sure how to get back there, but I do know one thing.

Writing, for me, is only fun when I’m not over-thinking it, when I have faith in myself.

Now, how do I get back to that place?


saulBest show last week – OMG, so many great shows on this week. But the winner had to be Better Call Saul. It’s from the writers of Breaking Bad and it does not fail to impress. It’s horrific, funny, intelligent, and engaging. I wish I could write this well.

Book that I’m reading at the moment – Just about to start a book. For fun. Not to learn from or study or pick out details. Brent Weeks. The Way of Shadows.

Pages written on new book  50? (I know I need to start adding these pages up. They’re all in chapter folders, but it’s progress, right?)

Social media update – I did not feed the beast at all this week. It is angry and feeling forgotten. I suspect it’ll try to get back at me somehow.

Health  Crappy. Ok, who has a cold for 3 weeks straight? Anyone? Anyone?

Best thing last week  Bought new hockey gear for the youngest boy in my new family. Being me, I blogged about it.

Worst thing  Can’t seem to write a good query letter for my last novel. (Can you say, ‘stuck in your head, again?’)

Until next week, please check out these websites…

Elizabeth Lyon – some great books on writing

Alison and Don’s Amazing Travels – Oh what an incredible nomadic life they lead.

bev's booksBev Cooke – A link to her books!






6 thoughts on “Making writing fun

  1. Thanks for the shout out Joe! Wow, so unexpected, and appreciated.
    I do know for sure about the loss of faith thing though I haven’t been trying to get a novel published like you, and those rejection letters sure must be disheartening. For me it’s about both writing and photography not being good enough, but like you I plug away at it doing what I think I need to do to get better at it all.
    When you go to sleep tonight do it with the specific intent that while you sleep you will rediscover your faith in your ability to tell a good story – for the fun of it! (Or whatever words you want to use that resonate for you). You may or may dream about it. That doesn’t matter. Keep doing it every night until something begins to shift.
    Gook luck.

  2. Dear Joe … you are a terrific writer. You WILL get a novel published. And then another. And another. The most natural thing in the world for an unpublished writer to do is assume that he/she hasn’t been published because he/she is not good enough. Especially because we’re such sensitive souls, most of us. But that’s SO untrue in your case. Just look at it objectively for a minute. Have you ever read really crappy published books … far inferior to what you’ve written? Stop being modest and admit the truth: yes, you have.

    So how could that possibly be? Oh god, let me count the ways. From timing to luck to weather to the random happenstance of an agent having a good or bad day. As long as we all think our work is only as good as the publishing industry tells us it is (by snapping it up, showering us in advances, building up our egos), then we will always be at the edge of crisis … battling demotivation and filling up bottles with writers’ tears.

    Just remember, writing is an art but publishing is a business. The only thing publishers care about is whether they think they can make money with a book … not whether the book is well written. (And look how often they’re wrong on both quality and marketability).

    Onward and upward my friend! I have faith in you — even if you sometimes don’t.

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