Monday, March 26, 2012

Question: Should Writing Be Fun?

 Monday Mulling:

Ought writing to be fun? I go back and forth on that.

Yes, it should be fun! It's not A JOB!!! If it's not fun for you, it won't be fun for the reader!

No, nothing good is easy! You have to work at it and get gratification from a job well done!

I will say what's really annoying are the people who intone, "If it's not fun for you, it won't be fun for the reader," which is a really mean and nasty thing to say.

What do you guys think? Fun or not? What if it's not fun-- can it still be good, imaginative, creative? What if it's fun-- can it still be organized, coherent, readable?

Or is writing fun and editing not?




Evangeline Holland said...

Perhaps "fun" is too loaded a word. What about enjoyable or fulfilling or satisfying?

Edittorrent said...

I guess work could be enjoyable?

Amalie Berlin said...

It is work, but getting ready to go to work entails sitting around, daydreaming(which is fun).

Wrestling the words into some sort of order? That's work, or a least a higher work to fun ratio. Some days the fun ratio is higher: those days the words line up in a nice, organized manner, have a pleasing cadence and are a joy to read back. And you can have days where you have to chase each word down, tape that sucker in place, and then stab it a few times so it stops squirming. The stabby days are less fun, more work.

Whirlochre said...

If the writing isn't fun, it will show.

But if it's fun solely for the writer, it will show.

This is when "showing" "tells".

Unknown said...

I think it's a combination of both.
It's work, but fun work.

Jenny said...

For what it pays, it better be fun. Most novelists could earn more with a few shifts a week at Dunkin' Donuts. And a lot less work.

I'm having a ball working on my next nonfiction book, and the extent to which I'm enjoying it is making a startling contrast to how much I don't enjoy long tracts of time when I'm writing novels. I assume that the people who write a lot of novels enjoy the process the way I enjoy writing nonfiction. Either that or they're into bondage and masochism.

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

If you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life, blah blah blah. If it wasn't at least a little bit fun, nobody would ever write a single thing. The art would have died long ago.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Yes. No. All of the above. None of the above.

The problem for me is the word SHOULD. Who the hell made that rule? And why do I have to follow it?

Writing is work. It's love. It's fun. It's tedium. Same for revision, editing, formatting, marketing. The only thing it SHOULD be is as good as you can make it.

Edittorrent said...

Whirlochre, I've noticed that too, that sometimes it's clearly been enormous fun for the writer, but is too self-indulgent or inside-jokey for the rest of us to enjoy.
Hmm. Don't know what the solution is. I guess to put yourself in the mind of the reader. "If I weren't a member of The Batching-it Group, would I still think this is hilarious?"

green_knight said...

If writing is never fun, you're better off finding something you can enjoy. (Lots of people enjoy their jobs. Some people who have 'lousy' jobs enjoy their jobs, though they might not enjoy certain aspects of them. (Blood, stench, tedium, etc.)

If you labour over every sentence (and not in the 'whee, let's see if we can make it better' way), then that will show. Writers who are indifferent to their stories, who phone in the words, who stick to formulas because they don't have ideas, who'd rather be somewhere else... I think that you _can_ tell as a reader. That doesn't mean that every writer has to resemble the energizer bunny, but if you're not starting at least some days with a smile on your face...

... you probably should ask yourself why, and fix that, whatever it is.

And I don't see the opposition between 'it's fun' and 'it's work' at all - you mean that workind hard and finding out things and improving your skills *isn't* fun? Sure, cruising along is nice, and some learning stages are hard work and frustrating, but overall, I think the sheer process of learning and getting better is tremendous fun indeed.

Addy Rae said...

Writing is kind of like gardening. If it isn't fun and rewarding at least some of the time, I won't do it or I won't do a good job of it. Lack of fun gives me dead plants. At the same time, gardening is work, and the more work I put in the better results I get as a general rule.

So, yes, writing can be fun. It can also be a lot of work, and if I don't explore both parts of this, I end up with dead novels.