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  1. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    Writing for fun

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Man in the Box, Feb 17, 2014.

    I've been thinking about something... Do any of you write fiction just for the heck of it? Without professional desires, I mean. Is the goal of everyone here to be published by a publishing house one day?

    I'm a law graduate and would probably earn more money, and faster, being a lawyer. But I love to write, too. However, I haven't been taking a very serious approach to my writing. I write whenever I feel like it, which I'm sure isn't the correct approach for someone wanting to pursue a literary career. Professional writers have contracts they need to follow.

    Also, there's the fact that the publishers aren't always fair. They do reject a lot of the talentless people, but ocasionally a lot of garbage makes it to the shops, too. And many classic authors had to put up with many rejection letters until someone accepted them. Quality control requires being conservative. If you're writing just for fun, you don't need to go through all that, and if you still want to get published, nowadays you can self-publish online (just don't expect lots of income from it).

    Back to the beginning, though, the main question here is, have any of you written something just for the sake of writing?
     
  2. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I'd guess that every writer has written just for fun, or more likely, for practice or to try out something new, without expecting that the piece would ever be published. I don't know any reason you couldn't be a lawyer and (maybe then) a writer. Be careful what you start, though:

    "Writing stopped being fun when I discovered the difference between good writing and bad and, even more terrifying, the difference between it and true art. And after that, the whip came down."

    Truman Capote
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    These two statements are contradictory. If you don't take a very serious approach to writing, you won't do it well. And if you love it, how can you possibly stand to not do it well? That is a question that is separate and apart from being published, which requires that your writing be worth reading to someone else.

    As for your question, yes, I have written things without the express intention of having them published. Usually, though, it was to explore an avenue of writing or something about myself, but it was also to expand my abilities as a writer with the goal of getting something published in the future, if not that particular piece.
     
  4. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    If the main goal of writing is becoming famous or getting rich you will fail miserably.

    If you write for fun, becoming rich, famous is just a cool side effect :)

    I also write for fun but I'm bad at it. I follow a few creative writing classes and try to write as much as possible, because I love to write, and , because I want to get better.
     
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  5. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    I write for fun, but my plan is to self publish on ebooks. I probably would make enough for a nice dinner, so financial reasons aren't really my motivation.
     
  6. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I guess we write for fun, first and foremost: even if every other person on the planet disappeared now, we'd keep writing 'cause it's just that much fun. If we happen to make some money out of it someday, that'd be awesome, but if not, who cares?

    If you love doing something, it's probably only a natural extension of that love to try to do it as well as you can, which sometimes means that at some point someone might notice your work and pay you to do more of it. But I'd be just as fine with being an unsuccessful hack or an unsung genius.

    "The crux of the biscuit is: If it entertains you, fine. Enjoy it. If it doesn't, then blow it out your ass. I do it to amuse myself. If I like it, I release it. If somebody else likes it, that's a bonus."
    -Frank Zappa
     
  7. Mackers
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    Mackers Contributing Member

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    Hi, I'm a law graduate as well. I'm sure if you study law you will appreciate how writing is such a nice departure from it. I hate the rigid formalism of legal writing - statutes, repetition. Bores me to tears.

    I write because it gives me a buzz, it's like a drug. I couldn't give a shit if nobody ever read my writing.

    I do it first and foremost because it interests me, it is difficult to do, and I will probably spend most of my life now trying to master it. (Unless something drastic happens.)

    If you are in writing for any other reason other than the fact that you love it, and you love reading, you are most likely in it for the wrong reasons...
     
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  8. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    I meant that I'm not treating it like a job, but as a hobby, so I won't sit everyday in front of the computer to write, because I do other things to have fun as well. I don't mean I don't try hard, it's quite the opposite since much of the reason I don't write more is that I keep being afraid of sitting in front of the computer and nothing coming, or sometimes I write myself into a dead end I can't figure out and this delays me a lot.

    Not to mention I have a tendency to not rewrite due to being lazy...

    Well I write because I want my characters to exist somehow. I have the feeling that, if they're only in my mind, they don't exist. So I write to give them worldly existence.
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I don't write every day because life doesn't allow me that luxury. But I write (or do some other activity related to writing, like researching or editing) whenever I can. There are also times when getting away from it is a good thing, too. I have other creative outlets.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
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  10. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    It's not a matter of how often you write, but if you hope to please anyone other than yourself with your prose. If the answer is no, have at it. Write what you want, when you want, and you have the easiest of critics. And since, when you begin reading it, you knowthe intent of every word, it makes perfect sense. You begin to read and every word acts as a pointer to memories, images, and more, all stored in your mind.

    The problems come when you hand your work to someone used to the conventions and structure of the writing they've always read. Hand that person your work and every word acts as a pointer to memories, images, and more, all stored in your mind. You and your intent become irrelevant.

    Life isn't fair. So what? When you walk into the courtroom the judge's mood and if he got laid last night shouldn't enter into his decision, but in the real world it does. What matters is that unless you're writing on a professional level you're not even in that race, and only three in a hundred are. Which brings us back to my first point. If you don't intend to have anyone other then yourself read it you're set. If you do, there's the implied warranty of merchantability to take into account. Writing is a product too, right? :)
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been writing just for fun until I was 36. Only then I realized I wanted to write something that other people could read. More than making it a profession, my goal today is being read. I think if someone took away the possibility for me to ever get published again I would still write. It's been a part of my life since I learned how to use a pencil to form letters and make the letters form words and the words sentences. It's something I will always do. If not for anything else than to entertain myself.
     
  12. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I get that. The way I see it, some stories deserve to be told, and if I can't find those stories anywhere, it's my job to tell them and tell them as well as I can.

    I've noticed that being extremely competitive by nature is both a blessing and a curse for someone writing full-length novels: it takes so long to finish a new draft that by the time you reach the end (say, of a 90-100k ms), your skills have improved from when you started that draft, and then when you proofread the beginning, it looks like crap, and you got to edit and edit and before you know it, you're working on yet another draft.

    The upside of that is, of course, that your manuscript keeps getting better and better. It's just difficult to accept the fact that it could always be better and that at some point you'll look back at it and think it sucks because you have improved since its last draft. Sometimes this makes writing feel more like work than fun, but then you remember why you jump through hoops of fucking fire to tell that particular story and it becomes fun again.
     
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  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I write primarily for fun, secondarily for publication, but it's closer than it used to be. When I started, it was about 90% fun to 10% publication, but now it's closer to 60-40. But fun still prevails.

    I have a dream, though, of seeing a beautiful, leather-bound volume of my work on my shelf, with gold lettering on the spine and gold edges on the pages. If no publisher will give me that, I'll make it myself. I bought a couple of books on bookbinding and I'll figure out how to do it. Maybe I'll make a few of them, so I can give them to family and friends. Handwritten by me, handbound by me. Something to occupy my declining years. :)
     
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  14. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I write for fun and only fun. I have zero aspirations to see my work published by some mega-firm.
     
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  15. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    I write for fun and for money. It's simple: I want to make money doing what I love. Now, I don't expect to ever get rich, but I am hoping to one day be able to make a decent living off it. Living by writing would actually, in a way, make me rich, since it's not really work for me.

    It wouldn't really even matter what I was writing either. I would get peace and quiet while I worked. Plus, even if it's writing a news article, I have fun putting words together in a way that's appealing. I would much rather write fiction, though.
     
  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can relate because I'm a doctor by profession and I also started writing purely for fun. I always loved writing and knew I wanted to write novels, but I imagined it'll happen later in my career or when I retire. So for three or four years, I wrote short stories, a novella and loads of essays. But then I had a health setback and decided to exit 'the grind' and focus on the writing more. I still did private work and other commitments, but over the past four years (I've been writing since 2005) I realised this is what I want to do with my life. And it's more than a full time commitment. You have to pull out all the stops - learning the craft, thinking about what projects you take on, the bar is set so much higher than when you just write for fun, but whatever fun writing you do, it'll all come in handy if one day you want to transition to the writing career. And besides, even serious writing, it's still fun, but it takes priority whereas before, it was less important, like a hobby.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  17. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I didn't write for fun, I wouldn't dream of writing for publication. I've had more than enough jobs I didn't like - why deliberately choose another?

    As to your comment that publishers aren't always "fair" and publish "garbage" - well, that's purely subjective, of course.
     
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  18. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    For me writing is like doing a jigsaw puzzle without the box. It's tedious, fun, challenging.
    Better yet, it lets me express myself, hide deeper feels in metaphors. Most of my family are involved
    in art in some way, they never saw it as a hobby, neither do I.

    Even if I never make money from it - I could never stop.
     
  19. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    As Shadowalker said, I enjoy writing and telling stories that no one else is telling, but (these days) knowing that they will be published. I don't think that any writer who is completely without passion will produce good fiction.
     
  20. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    That can be an excellent way to become a very good writer. Let me offer a parallel tale.

    I've made my living as a writer (nonfiction) for most of my adult life. Some computer application or other that I bought years ago came with a free copy of Photoshop Elements 3.0. I had no use for it, but one day just for fun I installed it and played around with it. I discovered that manipulating images, even at my then-kindergarten level, was a relaxing change from manipulating words -- a sort of right-brain respite from left-brain work.

    Like you, I did this off and on when I felt like it and didn't take a serious approach to retouching images. I visited some retouching forums where people posted images with various problems that needed fixing. I would download these and try my hand at fixing them -- again, just for fun. Sometimes, to learn more about one tool or another in Photoshop, I would look up a tutorial and get the hang of it. I began posting more and more images on forums, just to compare my fixes with those posted by others.

    After a year or two of this, I received an email one day from a consultant in Tennessee. She had seen my pictures on a forum for some time, and she had some advice: "Your work is good enough to charge for. You should open a website and do retouching for pay." So I did. I'm not advertising or soliciting any retouching work here, so you can take a look if you like: radiantpics.com. I've never considered it to be a business (except for income tax purposes), but I've earned thousands of dollars doing work for commercial photographers. I never went looking for them; they've all sought me out.

    It's safe to say I'm working at an advanced level in Photoshop now, and I reached that level just by playing at retouching for pleasure and relaxation. I see no reason in the world why you couldn't make similar progress by writing for fun. Perhaps you write a little story, look at it critically, and decide you'd like to get a better grasp of dialogue, or building suspense, or whatever. You consult a book or two for guidance, play with the advice you find, and improve in those areas. As you improve, you find more areas you'd like to shore up. And on it goes.

    If you enjoy writing, write for enjoyment. That might just turn out to be the best way for you to make progress.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
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