Jon Gibbs (jongibbs) wrote,
Jon Gibbs

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Do you forget to have fun?

In the last few weeks, I’ve read at least a dozen social media posts by disheartened writers. Some were traditionally published authors with more than one novel out in the world, others were still struggling to sell their first short story.

They all had one thing in common: They’d had enough (several even went so far as to announce they would quit writing).

It made me sad. Then I got to wondering why anyone would give up on their dream?

I can’t know for sure, but I suspect the answer is simple: Somewhere along the line, these folks stopped having fun.

Writers encounter an awful lot of disappointment before (and after) they get published. That first acceptance letter is like finding one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets in your chocolate bar. Past rejections, negative critiques are forgotten in an instant. When someone asks what you do besides your day job, you no longer mumble something about ‘throwing the odd story together’, you hold your head high and proclaim, ‘I are a writer!’

Of course, the feeling doesn’t last. You still get rejection letters, and not everyone loves your work. Let's face it, with very few exceptions, writers never achieve global domination recognition. In fact, most of us consider ourselves lucky if we become household names in our own homes.

“Good grief,” I hear you say. “It’s a wonder you don’t all quit.”

On the face of it, you’d be right, but there’s another aspect to writing, something all writers benefit from. It’s fun to turn ideas into stories for other folks to read. It’s fun to invent imaginary people and bring them to life on the page. It’s fun to hang out with like-minded folks at conferences workshops and writing groups. It’s fun to see yourself improving at something you love doing.

The danger comes when we don’t do enough of the fun things, or we forget to enjoy them. When we focus on the negatives, it’s easy to become discouraged. That’s why whenever I give a solo talk, I always finish with this last piece of advice:

Figure out what works best for you, then do that…a lot. And don’t forget to have fun!

How about you?

Do you forget to have fun?
Tags: fiction, writerly thoughts, writing

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