This is based on a Stephen King article I talked about in “Everything You Need to Know.”
King states that to be a successful writer, you should “ask yourself frequently, “Am I having fun?” He says the answer doesn’t always have to be yes, “but if it’s always no” then it’s time to move on to something else.
Being fun doesn’t mean easy. Writing isn’t easy, putting your work out there for the public isn’t easy, getting published isn’t easy, and making a living off writing isn’t easy. Some days the words flow and they are meaningful and you hear angels sing when you write. Other days, it takes a week to write a paragraph that seems all right. The fun part of writing isn’t in those day to day highs and lows. It is the totality of the process that makes it fun. Creating a character and place and set of circumstances that propels a story along is the fun part. I love writing sessions where I think I know what a character will do or say and find at the end of the session, the character did the complete opposite of what I thought he or she would do.
A few weeks ago, I talked about the emotional side of writing in Writing Hurts. If asked if I was having fun on that day, the answer would have been no. There will be days where the emotions writing stirs can leave you feeling drained. If you are writing more memoir or biographical pieces the likelihood of having some rough days in the writing chair increase. Don’t decide to stop writing on those days. Instead, switch to a different project. I always advocate to have at least two different projects in the works. This allows you to step away from one without stopping the writing process altogether.
We writers are an odd bunch overall. We sit around cranking out stories, articles, poems, or whatever and send it out in the world to be judged, not only by agents, publishers, and critics, but readers as well. Then we start the process all over again. Fiction writers are the most resilient people on the planet. We get told no time and time again and each no sends us back to edit and refine our work to try it all over again. I have one short story I absolutely love, but two journals have not shared my love for this story. I still have fun every time I read it. I still have fun every time I edit it. I still have fun openly stalking my email waiting for an acceptance/rejection note every time I send it out. If it’s a rejection, which I’m totally prepared to get, I’ll rework it again and find another journal to go for Round Three. Eventually, someone will take this story and publish it. The fun is in the totality of the process!