Is Writing Fun?

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.

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7 Responses to Is Writing Fun?

  1. Lucy Kubash says:

    You are so right, writing is both fun and hard work. Fun when the words and ideas are flowing fast and furious; hard work when they have to be painfully dragged out of your head. I think it’s even harder now that we have to worry about doing the “social media thing.” But even so, I doubt I’ll ever give it up.

  2. Diane Burton says:

    I agree–writing is fun and hard. But if it’s never fun, it will show in the writing. I think it has to be more fun than anything.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Actually, Diane, I’m not sure if fun is the right word. (That was the word the speaker used.) I would say writing is satisfying. A pleasure. A sigh of delight. A smile when you know the words have come out right. And yes, when you can point at a book in the bookstore and say, “I wrote that.” and see the other person’s expression of surprise…that’s fun!

  3. Sue Myers says:

    I agree with all of your thoughts. The thing I learned was that after being published, writing becomes half your job. Up until that moment, is was the center of my focus. However, when someone you don’t know tells you how much she enjoyed your book, you tend to forget the sore shoulders and back from bending over a computer, never ending edits, etc., and a big smile spreads across your face because you know you really made the grade!

  4. Melissa Keir says:

    I agree with Diane… If you aren’t enjoying the process, it shows up in the writing! Writing is hard work. Everyone thinks they can do it, but they give up with the challenge of putting those words on paper. Time becomes a huge issue as life gets in the way… but to say that you have been published and can share your book with others… wow… That’s also the fun part!

    Great post!

  5. Writing is hard work. It’s akin to pregnancy and childbirth. You suffer through the morning sickness of facing that blank screen every day. Your body of work swells to a larger size and you must struggle to trim any excess before gestation is complete. You endure agonizing labor of love pains and give birth in time for the delivery deadline. At last, you hold the offspring of your imagination in your hands and bask in the admiration of everyone who tells you your literary baby is beautiful. You smile and forget all the pain you endured to bring that baby into the world. That’s when it begins to be fun. 🙂

    • Maris Soule says:

      I love your analogy, Jolana. Only difference I see is those babies (the real ones) cost money to be delivered and keep on costing money, forever and ever. I always hope my literary baby will bring in money. That doesn’t always happen (alas), but I haven’t found any of my 27 books (so far) to cost anything comparable to my 2 babies (now grown). (On the other hand, no regrets for the children…nor the books.)