It’s gotta be fun

A while back there was a lively debate going on over at Casa Zigmond about the joy of writing, and it got me to thinking about our perceptions of what we do and the reasons behind why we do it.

I’ve run across any number of writers who claim they “suffer for their art.” I can’t help it, but whenever I hear that, I have this vision of a woman sitting at the kitchen table with her hand melodramatically planted on her forehead, sighing. “Ohhh, how I suffer.”

I may be given to less empathy than the average bear, but this whole notion of suffering for one’s art makes me want to drink Draino because I want to scream, “if it’s that painful, then quit doing it!”

As was brought out on Sally’s blog, the earth will keep turning if you don’t write, so the idea of “suffering” takes on a  measure of sacrificial conceit.  And really, does anyone like a martyr?


To me, the long and short of this whole writing thing is that it’s gotta be fun. Fun is the catalyst that keeps me going even when the words flow like that mistake of a spaghetti sauce I attempted last night. Yes, there are days when I read what I wrote over the weekend and wonder what demonic possession caused me to write such utter garbage. But I don’t lose sight of the big picture; that I chose this avenue of expression.

Now that’s not to belittle the notion of suffering when writing. Oh my holy liver, do I ever suffer at times. It’s easy to get lost in the grind of the goal – agent hunting/publication – and forget the fun of the journey. Likewise, writing to meet a deadline can take the jam right out of my jelly doughnut. But that’s when I have to stop and recalibrate my perspective. I chose this thing called writing. Even though there are times when I wonder what force of madness convinced me I could write, there is the ultimate joy of cranking out a well-turned phrase or a scene that made me cry.

If there comes a day that I have to psych myself up just to sit down to write, or I become that woman at the kitchen table with my hand planted on my forehead, I’ll hang it up.  Because then it really is suffering. Crikey, life’s too short for that.

5 Responses to It’s gotta be fun

  1. Brian Clegg says:

    Lynn – for me, as an author, the greatest suffering for my art is writing book proposals. Boy, do I hate writing book proposals. They’re about ten times the effort per hour of writing an actual book.

    In principle I agree with you, though. I write because I love the whole crazy business. My only slight worry is that you do come across the odd person like the late, great Douglas Adams, without whose talents we would all be a lot poorer, who absolutely hated the whole the writing process.

    Famously, his publisher had to lock him in a hotel room and not let him out until he produced the goods. But I’m glad he didn’t hang it up, despite all the moaning and groaning.

  2. I’m one of those sick, twisted barfbags who doesn’t mind doing a book proposal because it forces me to analyze my books in ways that I wouldn’t normally do.

    And yes, I know there are many authors who hate writing, yet crank out fabulous books year after year. But I can’t help but wonder how this affected their lives. We may be richer for having these books, but what about the authors? I’m of the belief that a happy soul is a healthy, long-lived soul.

    Besides, being unhappy sucks stale Twinkie cream.

  3. danholloway says:

    This is why I stopped trying to write to be published. Trying to write the kind of commercial fiction I love reading (and I can’t even begin to imagine writing the kind I don’t enjoy reading), namely crime thrillers of the P D James/Thomas Harris ilk, was beyond me, and after trying and trying for about 2 years eventually felt more like root canal work than my day job – and I was doing it so I could give up my day job – er, for something I enjoyed less.

    So I decided that was screwy and started writing stuff that was fun. No publisher will go near it, but I self-publish it for the hundred or so of my interweb friends who have weird enough taste to want a hard copy, put it on my blog and most of all do what I really love which is performing it. I love my writing again, and I still have the other day job, the one that just about pays the bills

  4. NinjaFingers says:

    I’m lucky. I enjoy writing just about anything.

  5. authorguy says:

    I was just thinking about a blog post of my own on this topic, but the main reason I was thinking about is because I wasn’t motivated. There’s a lot that can demotivate a person in this business, and I saw some of it today. I don’t write when I feel like this. I’ll probably just end up deleting it tomorrow.

    Marc Vun Kannon

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