Writing for fun???

Joe’s Post #163

When did writing become ‘not fun’?

If there's one thing Buddy the Elf knows, it's fun!

If there’s one thing Buddy the Elf knows, it’s fun!

Well, never, really, but there is an aspect of writing that has become a chore and Silk’s post made me realize what.

It’s the idea that the goal – that of getting published – becomes more important than the process of writing. The goal is fraught with all sorts of pitfalls, rejections, and nights curled up in the corner with a carton of ice cream, binge watching Teletubbies on Netflix.

Oh sure, I love do my blog posts, especially my justjoebc blog about being a stepdad, and that’s writing, too, righ?  But tackling a novel, well, that’s a whole different type of writing.

I used to love it. I did. I wrote a good 4 or 5 of them before that love began to fade. And it faded due to a perceived failure on my part. A failure to write well enough, or create a good enough query letter or whatever.

And that failure can drag you down.

Cuz it’s about the goal.

So what if I looked at the process, again?

Why do I love to blog?

Cuz I don’t ever worry about the outcome. I have no goal at this point. One day I would love to pitch the idea of a book about a clueless stepdad trying to figure it all out, but for now, I just write.

As well, with a blog, you’re done quickly. You tell your little story of the day and move on. It’s that simple. No worrying about structure or character or theme or how to integrate a love story into the plot.

Being me, I wondered, could I still have some fun writing something other than a blog? Or a novel?

So, last night, I did just that. I wrote out a short story. 3388 words. Not a long story to be sure, not even one that has a market, but one that was fun to write.

And it was fun. I lost myself in the words. I didn’t stress about hooks or proper attributions or clever rhetorical gimmicks, I simply wrote what was in my head and put it into the computer.

Sort of like what I do with the blog.

So, then why can’t I find a way to do that with my novel?

Technically my book is before this event by a few days.

Technically my book is before this event by a few days.

More thinking will be required, but for now I’m substituting routine for passion. Sort of a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ thing. I get up, write a bit for fun, take a break, then write on my novel until noon. So far I’ve managed to get anywhere from 3 pages to 12 done per day done. Not stellar production, sure, but forward progress, nevertheless, and such progress will eventually allow me to complete another novel.

But that idea of making it fun, again, intrigues me.

I want to get back to that when I write a novel.

I’m just not sure I can clear out all the clutter in my head to do so.

Any ideas?


5 thoughts on “Writing for fun???

  1. Thanks for your post Joe. I love your blog justjoebc and your humor that always comes through. You seem to have fun writing in short bursts with a focused subject AND that subject is one that you observe and analyse with your own twist. What I sense is you love doing just that and it pulls the inspiration out of you. I wonder if you can have someone in your novels observe the world in this fashion and bring the fun factor in more for you?

  2. I share a house with two authors, and I use the word on purpose, as opposed to ‘writers’. They couldn’t care less about how a book is written, how the words are put together, but only if it sells. Everything is about getting stuff out there fast and marketing it. They want to make a living at it, which is understandable, even admirable. They describe me as the “literary” one of the group and try to say it nicely, but they think I’ve missed the boat. I took a look at the competition on the internet nowadays and figured they were right. Then a couple years ago I realized that I was beginning to dislike writing — it had become only a chore, an obligation. A grunt job as bad as any I’d ever had to pay the bills. I certainly wasn’t having any fun. So I ground to a halt. I was almost at a point of giving up entirely and applying for my blue vest at Walmart when it occurred to me that there was a time long ago when I enjoyed nothing in my life as much as working words into a story that someday people might enjoy reading. I didn’t worry about publishing, I just wrote, one page at a time, and enjoyed every word of it. So I decided that my publisher could just wait — I was going to go at my own speed, write the way I wanted and have fun! Guess what — I’m actually writing more now than ever and selling it — not much yet, but it gets better. The important thing is, I wake up glad to sit at the computer now, instead of looking for excuses not to. So by all means, make it fun for yourself. People can tell when they read it. I get the feeling you have fun writing blogs. [Hate doing that, myself.] Karalee is right — maybe you could write something longer in the same fashion? I guess I’m thinking Dave Barry, Garrison Keillor — or a long version of “Me and Billy”. 😀

  3. Oh I’m always looking for the feeling of having fun when I write blog posts. Almost every post starts out as a chore. It’s only after the research, and finding some connection with story telling, and most importantly when I remember that I’m not writing for an audience, that it becomes fun. Some posts get put off for weeks because they seem like hard work, but eventually they get done, and every time I eventually get to the fun part. Very few start out that way.

  4. In that twisted path to adulthood, somehow we condition ourselves to believe that doing something “because it’s fun” is insufficient reason. And from there, I’m afraid, it’s a short, slippery slope to declaring fun a “waste of time” and those who pursue it “irresponsible”. I love how Eugenia put it. I’d like to recapture that free-thinking 60’s mood, when our motto was “if it feels good, do it!”

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