Whenever I tell people I am a writer, I get the same response. Either that must be fun or is that fun? I want to sock ’em in the face, but I know they don’t mean to offend. Is writing fun? What a stupid question.
I can think of a dozen words I’d use to describe writing before I jump to fun. How about rewarding, fulfilling, creative, engaging, interesting, challenging? How about difficult, time-consuming, brain burning, frustrating?
Yeah, but is it fun?
Sometimes. When everything is working. When there is plenty of time between this scene/page/chapter and a deadline. When there isn’t all this pressure on writing to be an actual source of income. Then it can be fun. But once you start treating writing as a career, you have to treat it as a career. You have to write when you are tired or depressed or hung over. You have to write when you are stuck, when you hate your characters, when you have no idea where the plot is going. You have to write when it is hard.
Writing is like a relationship. You get to be there when it is fun, but you have to be there when it is hard. No one is hearts and rainbows all the time, and no writing project is seamless flow all the time. If you are doing writing right, really committing yourself to your stories, you will have so many days where you want to tear your hair out or bang your head on the keyboard. You will ask yourself why you are doing this awful thing because it is SO SO HARD, and you should just go into finance like your friend/uncle/whoever, because at least then you’d make some freaking money. You will want to quit, not because writing doesn’t pay the bills, but because it is so fucking frustrating. You will wish you could quit, but you will know you can’t quit, because you will never, ever, ever be satisfied if you stop writing.
You are imprisoned by writing. You are writing’s bitch. You will not be happy if you don’t write.
Is this healthy? God no. Should we romanticize this kind of abusive relationship? I already told you to stop. Do as I say, not as I do, all that. But should you leave writing?
Not if you want to be happy.
Is writing fun? Yes, but if it is fun all the time, you are probably writing low quality shit. If it is fun all the time, you need to get your ass in the chair and get back to your 13th draft.
And, for the love of God, if you meet a writer, please don’t tell her writing is fun. She might be in the middle of a script/novel/poem/whatever that IS NOT WORKING and she might be ready to kill anyone who reminds her it’s not working.
Not that I know anyone like that.