Is Writing Fun?

Interesting piece here from a while back in the Guardian.   Authors respond to the question Is writing fun? with varying degrees of pretentiousness.
Most delightful, and surprising, was Will Self’s unabashed glee at writing novels – perhaps he’s being his usual brilliant, perverse self by taking a position so at odds with most of his long-suffering colleagues, for whom the very act of switching on the computer seems akin to ripping strong adhesive tape off their private parts.
It’s true that when I was writing books full-time back in London, I wasn’t very happy.  That had nothing to do with the act of writing, though – it was to do with other stuff, like fear of impending penury, and guilt at having left my job as a corporate lawyer.  Suddenly what had been a mildly glamorous hobby became an extraordinarily badly-paid job.  But writing down the stories that were in my head – that was still fun.
I think many writers like to imagine that their calling has nothing to do with anything so frivolous as fun. They often claim that they have no choice but to write, as if their muse is holding a gun to their delicately perspiring foreheads.  Fatuous poppycock, of course.  To pretend that telling stories is some sort of unendurable burden is patent guff.  I now realize that when I sit down at my computer with my cup of espresso at 5.06, ready to attack the next paragraph, I am looking forward to the next couple of hours with nothing but relish.  Now, by the time I wake up the children things may not be so rosy – fifty not-very-good words in two hours will do that to you – but each morning I sit down with fresh anticipation.  Writing – for me, anyway – is an endlessly renewable source of hope, and escape.  And it’s free.  What’s to moan about?

Comments 3

  1. I love writing… whenever I get down to it, it is pure pleasure.
    My problem is being motivated to do it in the first place (I have the exact same issue with exercise)!
    No, it’s not so good when you’ve barely managed to write a page, but we all have our off days. Ultimately though, for me anyway, writing is a wonderful way to spend a good part of the day… whether it’s just a hobby or the main source of income.

  2. LOVE this post! gawd, the idea that to write is to suffer is just intolerable to me. glad you relish those mornings! and writing is fun, dammit (though certainly dispiriting at times :).

  3. The best words I’ll read this week: “They often claim that they have no choice but to write, as if their muse is holding a gun to their delicately perspiring foreheads.”

    Thank you for posting this.

    I don’t understand people who act like they’re in pain about writing and talk about it with such spite. I’ve known many people like this, and their self-imposed loathing about writing seems to be an extension of their character. (They’re usually negative about a lot more than just writing.) If you don’t like something, why do it?

    I write because I want to. It’s not fun all the time, but it’s always satisfying and a challenge I enjoy, even on the worst days.

    I’m glad to see others agree.

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