If you caught yesterday’s fiction factoid on Facebook, you’ll know that:
Fiction isn’t always written for fun. Sometimes it’s written to teach a lesson, raise awareness, encourage, inspire, brag, vent or share.
But even if your main goal isn’t to make readers smile, you can still enjoy yourself during the fiction writing process. Or so this week’s Writing Rule firmly promotes.
Fiction writing should be fun.
This is an odd writing rule because it’s both 100% true and yet doesn’t make or break a manuscript’s fictional designation.
As a writer, you’re more than welcome to make it as un-fun a process as possible. There are plenty of famous authors who, I’m convinced, did exactly that and are now forever revered by snooty intellectuals.
But are they really who you want to emulate?
Your answer should probably be no.
Unless you want to lead a miserable life while you’re alive and be despised by high school students everywhere after you’re gone. Most authors who refuse to have fun during the fiction writing process also refuse to have fun during the living process, which is sad.
Since I sincerely wish non-sad things for you readers and subscribers alike, here’s a few suggestions on how to enjoy yourself during your personal fiction writing process.
1. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Seriously. You’re not all that anyway. That’s not meant to be mean. It’s actually meant to take some pressure off your shoulders. No writer is “all that.” Not Shakespeare. Not Charles Dickens. Not Jane Austen. And not even my personal writing idol, Kate Quinn. “All that” means someone’s perfect. And since nobody is, why bother striving for the label? Go for something manageable instead, like the best version of yourself you can be in the moment.
2. Let yourself feel the thrill of the hunt! There’s a reason why that saying is a saying, and it’s because there really is something adrenaline-boosting about willingly pitting your abilities against something or someone else. Yeah, it’s a primal urge. But so is eating and sleeping. And you hopefully haven’t given up on any of that just because it’s basic. So don’t get snooty. Give in to the thrill of the hunt for fitting words to form intriguing sentences to create engaging paragraphs to blossom into whole chapters!
3. Let yourself be smug sometimes. You gave in to the thrill of the hunt, and you bagged your prize, slaying your sentence-writing goal.
A feeling of utter satisfaction wells up inside your chest, and you feel a smile coming on. In which case, let it happen. Real writers aren’t always frowning in concentration or under the weight of their genius, you know. That’s a myth.
And a really stupid one too.
4. Let fun happen naturally. Having fun shouldn’t be a New Year’s resolution. The thrill of the hunt aside, this isn’t a contest to win and there’s no punishment for failing.
Nobody expects you to have fun consistently during the fiction writing process. You’ll have moments where you struggle to compose the next line, you feel rather stupid, or you’re focusing on a sad part of your story.
So let yourself be human. Acknowledge, accept and analyze whatever emotions come your way.
But don’t rule out having fun going forward in your personal fiction writing process. Unless you really do prefer being fun-less.