Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Should Writing be Fun?

This has been worrying me. Should writing be ‘fun’?

I went to a drinks thing this evening, and met a friend who is writing a novel.

“Its fun,” he said. “If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t do it.”

That got me thinking.

Writing is not ‘fun’ for me. It is lots of things; it is challenging, drives me bloody spare sometimes, annoying, lots of similar adjectives.

But it keeps me alive, in many ways.

Is it ‘fun’ for you?

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Why is it not 'fun'?


It hasn’t been ‘fun’ relying on a dwindling supply of short fiction to keep some submissions out there. Or wondering if I am so hooked on the ‘write write write sub sub sub’ ethos I have worked at for four years that I can’t get writing satisfaction from just calmly, slowly writing the longer work.

That worries me.

It has not been ‘fun’ paying out for loads of comp entries then seeing work hit a few good ones, and the lots of solid but littler ones (with the same entry fees) ignoring stuff from the same brain.

Or realising that the good solid magazines want strong, realist, postmodern work… and if what you do is not that, the places that want your stuff are limited, and that’s just how it is.

It hasn’t been ‘fun’ as such, working on the novel. It is painfully painfully slow. I miss the occasional buzz from the fast writing I used to get when writing short fiction regularly.

And it certainly is not fun working at writing raw words. It is hard. But as someone once said ‘No gain without pain’ or something.

BUT

What SURROUNDS writing is ‘fun’. I love the buzz of the places I work, I love meeting up with other writers, talking, seeing what gives. I love reading, but don’t do enough. I love teaching. Facilitating. Whatever it’s called.

It has been great ‘fun’ working with Salt Publishing on Words from a Glass Bubble, and learning about how to market yourself, your book. It is ‘fun’ sometimes, working fast, in flash sessions. It is ‘fun’ playing.

But whereas when I started out some years back, writing was 'playing' in buzzy, creative splurges,… now it is ‘what I do’, and as soon as things become ‘what you do’ they lose something, perhaps….

1 comment:

TitaniaWrites said...

Interesting question - I wouldn't call it "fun" for me, because that implies something frivolous, and this is my profession. But do I enjoy writing? Hell yeah! I love it, the writing of the stories. The revising and editing is not always so much fun, and the submission/rejection/acceptance process is far from fun. Acceptances are joyous... But "fun"? I don't think so