Last week I attended a writers’ meeting where the speaker started out saying that beginning writers are generally told that writing is hard, and she was there (at this meeting) to say they were wrong, writing is fun.
In my opinion, her talk didn’t really support that statement. She tended to ramble and drift off onto tangents that had little to do with writing, fun or not. But as she rambled, I found my thoughts going back to her initial statement, which I mentally debated.
Is writing hard or is it fun?
My final answer is yes and yes.
Writing takes discipline, it eats up a large portion of your life/time, it can be physically and emotionally stressful, it can lead to sleepless nights, force you to do hours of research, and cause depression (especially when the writing doesn’t go well). Good writing means editing, rewriting, cutting favorite passages, and, later, enduring rejections and critiques from people who don’t recognize your genius. (Sometimes even your mother won’t love what you’ve written.)
But oh, when the characters take over, and the writing flows, and the words all fit together in a beautiful pattern, then it’s fun. It’s satisfying. It’s its own reward. And when someone comes up to you and says they loved the story, it’s a glorious feeling, and you forget the hours of work and the sweat and tears.
I think, (and maybe I’m wrong) whether you consider writing fun or not depends on your expectations. Are you writing simply for yourself? In that case, yes, it’s definitely fun. It’s fun to use words to express your thoughts, emotions, and impressions. It’s fun to play with words.
But maybe you’re someone who wants to see your writing in print or in electronic form? This is a great time for writers to publish without having to depend on an established publisher selecting their work or having to pay a vanity publisher to print their words. Print on Demand, such as what’s offered through Create Space, can cost almost nothing and provide nice trade size books. Kindle Direct Publish, Smashwords, Kobo, and other epublishers allow writers to upload manuscripts for free and the only costs to the writer occur if a cover design is needed or formatting. Either through POD or ebooks you have copies of your story that can be purchased and enjoyed by lots of people. It gives a sense of permanence to what you’ve written.
But what if you want to go the next step? What if you want wide acceptance, maybe even acclaim? Great reviews. A wide audience of readers. Money. Lots of money.
Now being a writer becomes a lot harder. Now it’s a job. Now the grammar, spelling, and punctuation must be correct, your facts must be true, and you need a way to get the book to a lot of people—mass marketing. You need to either contract with a publishing house with good distribution (i.e., one of the larger publishers) or learn how to market. And now you have to be ready for rejections and scathing reviews (as well as the good). Now you have to be social (have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), do blog tours, send out newsletters, speak to groups, do mailings, etc.) and you need to write another book and another and another—because you need to keep your name in front of the public.
So is writing hard or fun?
It’s what you make it. It’s what you want to achieve and how much effort you’re willing to put forth. Like any job, if you love what you’re doing, you don’t mind the hard work. Sor for me, some days it’s hard…other days, it’s lots of fun.