You give up a few things when you start to make money from the thing you love…
I began writing for fun. I didn’t really show it off to anyone because it was just for me to read. Sometimes I’d tell my stories to a relative, because Caribbean families, much like many other families around the world, rely on storytelling for fun. We’d exchange ideas, see whose story was funnier, weirder or scarier and then move on to the next one.
When I started college, I learned about a website called Bookrix. It was an amazing community back when the site was interactive, was regularly worked on and had regularly updated. Users on the site were able to make “books” with their poetry or stories and could even comment on each other’s stories.
It was an amazing experience and I was able to connect with all kinds of writers who just wanted to have fun. I was determined to use that to eventually make writing some sort of career. That lead to paid writing and reporting internships, which lead me to learning more about freelance writing and figuring out how to pitch editors. I learned how to grow a tougher skin.
But during that time, writing went from something I did in notebooks for myself, or to entertain family members to something that I relied on for money. Something that I had to constantly study to improve on and figure out. It went from something I had A LOT OF FUN WITH to something that my livelihood really depended on– which can honestly suck some of the enjoyment out of writing.
It’s taken a few years, but I’ve finally figured out a few ways to keep writing fun. It’s necessary to find that sweet spot sometimes, even if the job aspect takes over a lot of your life.
Attend events with other people in the industry. There are all kinds of events that highlight different aspect of writing (and any other industry). Oftentimes there’s giveaways, food, discussion hours, presentations and more. I’ve made a point of attending several a year and it’s changed how I see media and writing. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of wonderful people, especially at themed events and I’ve learned a lot from them. That and nothing makes me happier than free muffins.
Keep a train of thought/daily journal. For writing to stay fun, try having at least one aspect of it that’s not going to be edited or seen by many other people at all. Keeping a journal is a quick way to do that. Your thoughts will be just for you and there won’t be any need to deal with scrutiny. There won’t be any censorship or agenda. It’s just about you and what you want to say.
Hold a writing circle with friends or colleagues. Say you do very serious investigative work, or technical writing… consider having a creative writing circle. If everyone works on something fun, then it’s a lot easier to get into the flow of writing something new. And since it’s a friend circle and not an assignment for work, you’ll have the flexibility to write what you’d like and have fun with the poem, short story or flash fiction that you’re writing.
Watch a movie you like, go to a museum that interests you and find a way to write about it and reflect on it. Do you think the main character should have dated the other love interest? Write an alternative end to the story for yourself! Contemplate why there’s a 1,000 year old statue in the museum, who made it, why and how they’d feel if they knew it was on display for thousands of people to see. Make up a whole alternative history for the museum object. It doesn’t even have to make a lot of sense, feel free to go out on a limb here since it’s for fun. So get creative!
At the end of the day, what you write for yourself should be fun for you and should show you why you began writing in the first place. The tips above are just that, tips. They’re suggestions and you’re free to mix and match them or make up your own fun writing activities along the way. As long as you’re finding ways to make some aspect of writing feel fun and fresh again… that’s all that matters.
So get to writing!
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