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Making Writing Fun

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Philip Overby, May 6, 2014.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    I see a lot of posts concerned about something not working or being afraid the writing is not good enough. For some reason, I rarely see posts in this Writing Questions section about ways to make writing as fun as possible. Writing certainly doesn't have to be a chore and as of late I'm finding I have fun even editing (which I never thought I'd say.) I figure most people who come to this forum like writing for one reason or another, primarily because they have fun doing it.

    So how do you keep the fun in your writing? Any techniques, tips, or anything else that makes you feel excited during and after every writing session?
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
    Scribble and psychotick like this.
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    For some reason last year I lost the ability to sit still and write for hours on end so I have been trying over the past few months or so to write in bursts.
    I write until I find myself starting to go back and edit the day's work [okay, the last hour's work]. Then I stop and shut up shop for half an hour or so, put the laundry on or go for a walk around the block... anything that takes me away from a computer screen [surfing over to Mythic Scribes does not count as time away from the computer!!!].
    If it is a walk I've opted for I usually bump in to a neighbour and their dog [everyone outside seems to have a dog...] and we chat for five minutes.
    Half an hour is usually just enough time for me to clear what was in my brain and start thinking about what I want to happen next [and not get sucked back in to exactly how to say it first time round].
    I seem to be getting a lot more written and getting in to the story faster. Also it means that I'm getting used to working when I can and not having to plan DAYS of writing. It makes organising life easier...
    I normally stop and walk away after a few of these mini session with my head buzzing about what happens next.
    and maybe, just maybe, walking is actually good for you after all...
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  3. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

    I'm incredibly lucky being a commuter. When I get on the train in the morning for my one hour journey, I flip open the lap top and I am instantly in the world of whatever story I'm working on. Very frequently I suddenly realise I've reached my station and fly into a panic to get my laptop away and negotiate my way to the door...put my work brain on.

    I cherish that hour every morning. Because it is limited I use the time really well and really look forward to it, every time.

    Writing is fun when you only have very limited time to do it.

    And when I have lots of time?

    Go for a run to get the endorphins flowing...have a shower...pour large glass of wine...get stuck in.
  4. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    For me writing is fun because I'm actually discovering the story as I write it. I'm a complete pantster. So I have no plot in mind when I write. Not even a major outline. And as for the mini plots and scenes I don't know what they are either until I write them. So it's a completely creative process without the need to write within confines of plot etc.

    That may be a part of why I hate editing. When I'm doing that there's nothing new to learn / read. (Of course the other part is that editing sucks!)

    Cheers, Greg.
  5. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    For me, part of the fun is in the challenge, the challenge of solving the problems and getting what I put on the page as close to what I see in my head and feel in my heart as possible.

    Writing is like being in a classroom where you're the student and teacher. You give the marks and the marks don't matter. You get to play pretend and ask, "What if," ad infinitum. You get to argue with yourself and you always know you're going to win that argument. Ever take both sides of an argument and during the course of it throw out a devastating burn on yourself?

    The fun is everywhere you just have to look for it. During editing, which can get pretty tedious, I catch myself making amusing grammar mistakes all the time. I once wrote that a character put 'sweat and low' into their coffee, which is pretty gross.

    Writing and editing can be torturous at times, but its during those times where pausing and having a good chuckle at yourself and your mistakes is most important. A good attitude can make the worst of things bearable, but most of the time it can make it fun.
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I dunno. I have a hard time describing writing as fun.

    I can play music (guitar, keyboard). That's fun. I can tell it's fun because even when I have to work at it, it cheers me up, makes me feel good. I can't say writing does that for me. Instead, it's more like a compulsion. It's difficult, rarely satisfying, and almost never-ending.

    With music, I have no hesitation in picking up my guitar and playing, even to a stranger, although I'll pick a song I know. Learning new stuff is best done in private! I would never just draft something on the fly and show it to someone.

    With music, I practice, but there's nothing akin to the editing process. That does happen if I record, but that's almost a whole different animal, creatively speaking. When I play live, the work produced is what it is, and I'm always satisfied with it even as I know I could always do better. Belting out a tune is cathartic.

    Writing is more like splitting diamonds, or building a house. It's work. It can be very satisfying (cue Dorothy Parker), but fun? Nope, not for me. Fun is rasslin' the dog.
  7. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    I'm now all set up for writing where I'm sitting.
    I've got some good music (Vibrasphere). I've got candles lit and a glass of something strong and tasty. I'm comfortably seated and a slideshow of more or less inspirational images are playing on the TV over in the corner. Just sitting here is great even when I don't write. I'm wearing my hoodie with the hood up. I've got myself all set up.
    In this way I've created an environment I enjoy being in and I think that enhances my enjoyment of the writing.

    I'm a planner.
    I know where my story is going and what is going to happen and how it's going to end. I've got a long list of events to lead my story through, all planned out. I'm now also planning out each individual scene before I start writing it. This way, I avoid ending up in a situation where I don't know what I'm doing or where I'll end up.
    Uncertainty is the bane of fun to me. It means I start doubting what I'm doing and whether it's right or wrong and it means I don't get anything done.

    When I have a plan I know where I'm going and I can focus on going there in style. I enjoy that.

    Unlike skip, I greatly enjoy writing. I enjoy picking out the words and putting them in the right order. I even enjoy the simple act of typing in the words on the keyboard (though I don't enjoy typing up something by hand, copying it from a notebook or something).
  8. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    I agree that writing is definitely work (hence the group Writers' Work), but I think it can be fun work, for me anyway. I get excited when I start a new project or come back to an old one after letting it sit before an edit begins. I like coming up with new characters and figuring out the way they talk or act. I have fun seeing how two characters interact with each other.

    That's the fun part.

    Choosing the right words or making sure everything makes sense is the slightly less fun part. I've focused on trying to make editing fun by adding a bit of interesting description or changing what someone says to make it more interesting or funnier. Tinkering is becoming better than I thought. When a manuscript is a complete incomprehensible mess, then yeah, that's not fun for me. But if things mostly make sense and I just need to clean it up, then I don't mind it as much as I used to.
  9. deilaitha

    deilaitha Sage

    A what now? :) Is that like...flying by the seat of your pants?
    I totally feel you with editing being hard. The creative vision gets lost (at least for me) amidst the "fixing" it. This also why I don't like outlining. When I'm writing from an outline, I feel so boxed in. Right now, I am expanding was what a synopsis into actual writing--and it has NOT been fun. I feel like the writing is crappy. So, to keep myself from being totally bummed out, I am writing in 10-minute bursts and doing something fun in between. Yesterday it was gladiator duel on PS move.
  10. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    "Pantser" is exactly that. It's just another term for a discovery writer, one who uses no firm plan or outline, preferring to allow the story and characters to develop as they write.
    psychotick likes this.
  11. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

    Seriously, you have to find a way to make editing fun.

    My own way is to identify passages which don't quite work and then either delete them or turn them into gold. Both are important. If a scene isn't part of the story spine, it has to go. If it is part of the story spine but doesn't quite work, it has to be fixed.

    I've been writing long enough to really enjoy that process.
  12. Asterisk

    Asterisk Troubadour

    Writing is always an unpredictable mix of fun and stress for me, but either way, I just enjoy writing something. Three things I do to make writing fun... I have a Tumblr blog for breathtaking pictures I find that are relating to what I'm writing (looking at them always gets me excited), music (the majestic, grab-your-sword-and-FIIIIGHT! kind), and isolation (can't have little sisters peeking over your shoulder and pointing out every spelling mistake, now can we?).

    I'm a mix of planning and pantsing. I plan on sticky notes, bright yellow ones that are literally scattered ALL OVER my room. The thrill of entering another world is what makes it fun for me. :D
  13. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    I have always been somewhat of a loner, so the characters are my friends and I regularly hang out in fantasy land somewhere. Ha ha. What makes writing fun for me is the creation of a story. Writing is a journey, and that's what life is, right? I also love to come on these forums and share in the experience with other writers. But I especially love to write my stories and send them off to be read. Knowing that I'm writing something which will entertain others and hopefully reach them emotionally all makes writing fun for me. I also like editing because making the story more readable is always a plus. :)
  14. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    Thanks T Allen. You put that so well. My own description would be that its someone who sits at the keyboard with absolutely no clue what he's going to type and then loses himself completely in the creative process. I write what my fingers tell me to do! So writing for me becomes a constant "aha" process. That's what's fun about writing for me. Which is why editing isn't. There are no "aha" moments. Instead it's writing to a script and I have no moments of discovery within it.

    Cheers, Greg.
  15. Khama

    Khama Scribe

    One of the major ways I make writing fun for myself is by making the most of each day. What I mean by that is I do as much as I can when it comes to learning. I try to learn at-least something each day, and it may not even be anything related to what I'm currently writing. Yet, with each knew thing I learn a spark is started. A spark that slowly ignites into an infernal that makes me just want to slap it onto the page.

    However, just because I want to put it on the page doesn't mean I do. If the idea can't fit into the story I am currently writing then I store it away on a piece of paper/phone. Setting it up in such a way that I see it at-least once a day which keeps that flame burning. That flame in turn gives me my drive to finish what I currently am doing.

    Though, to make sure I actually still have interest in the current story I always look it over. Trying to spark new ideas that could, realistically, be added into it. That not only fit within the stories context, but also serve the plot and the world in some way. That gets me even more excited to finish what I currently have.

    On-top of that, though, is world building. It helps me understand the world itself, and in some cases, like recently, I figure out that something should be replaced by something else. I find it exhilarating in creating all these stories that some-how link with one another in some way. Making it so past events have a foot mark in the future ones for example.

    As what ever happened during X makes me think about the ripple effect into the future. Then once I realize the most intriguing and plot advancing impact I seize it. Implement it into the story if it is applicable, and get excited to either go back to add it, come revision time, or get to the chapter that the impact comes into play.

    That is the core of what makes writing fun for myself.
  16. buyjupiter

    buyjupiter Maester

    Never underestimate the power of a good monkey wrench thrown into the story.

    For me, the most fun I have in anything comes from problem solving. Writing is problem solving on a massive scale. Everything in the story is a problem, needing to be solved, and if it isn't...what's it doing in the story anyways? Even the world building (the just becauses) and the back end work of character development/creation is problem solving. My job is to make sense of why it's there and how it became that way and why it's now relevant to the larger story problem.

    Two series come to mind as excellent ways to illustrate making the writing (and reading) process fun: Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake. (I know I don't typically like Urban fantasy, but of the genre, these are the two I like.) I can see where Laurell K. Hamilton must have gone, it needs something else in here to make the story even better, oh here's a monkey wrench to wreck Anita's plans. I can see where Charlaine Harris said, oh things are going too well for Sookie, let's make things worse for her.

    I suppose this is just a rehash of the "what's the worst thing that you can do to your characters. Alright now go do that." writing advice, but it does work.

    Although there have been many times where I get an idea mid-writing sprint, that are not necessarily bad news for my characters, but do pose interesting dilemmas and choices and problem solving opportunities for them.

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