Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are we having fun?

There is a simple rule I have when I’m writing a piece.  While writing it, I must be having fun.

To me, writing is fun.  Sure, it’s a lot of hard work and there are times where it can seem a bit stressful, but overall writing is fun.  I love to create characters, places and worlds.  Even the depressing stories I write sometimes, I was always having fun at some point.  This is important to me, because this is how I know what I’m writing is working.

I had a professor at Columbia who taught Suspense/Thriller.  While I don’t really plan on writing too many of those, it was great to learn about the craft.  But the thing that made me sad about taking the course was that the professor treated writing like a business.  I didn’t get any sense that she actually enjoyed herself while writing books.  It was a paycheck to her.  While I can understand that people have to make a living off of their works, it makes me sad to think that any writer is not enjoying him or herself during the process.

Over my many years of writing, I have written a lot of stories.  The older ones that I look at now were really awful.  But you know what?  I can hold them up proudly and say, “Yes, my writing’s a hell of a lot better now than way back when… but I had fun writing it, dammit!”

And that’s what it should always be about.  Having fun.  The day I stop writing for good is the day that I no longer find it fun.  Because if I end up writing a story when I’m not enjoying myself, I know it’s going to be a shitty story.

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