Shouldn’t Writing Fiction Be Fun?

There’s a quote that roams around the internet periodically about not liking the process of actually writing:

“I don’t like to write, but I love to have written.” Michael Kanin

I think I’ve seen this attribute to several other people as well, and people pass it around because it’s true for them.  You know, I don’t get that.  Doing the writing is the best part of writing.  In fact, I dislike research because I’d rather get to the writing instead of doing “homework.”  Okay, well, it’s not really homework, but it feels like it to me.

But let’s suppose writing a novel takes a year to write.  The writer has a learning curve to fix some challenging things that are also a lot of work.  Then the writer goes to a critique thinking the story is ready to be submitted to agents and finds out there’s even more work.  Finally, it’s time to labor over the query letter and synopsis.  Then it’s probably another year of submitting to agents, as well as starting a new book …

Then there’s the reviews and the marketing.

That’s a lot of time spent over something if you don’t like to do it, especially with several areas where there are truly things to dislike, like agent rejections, bad reviews.

Just something to think about.

5 thoughts on “Shouldn’t Writing Fiction Be Fun?

  1. Having been that way and used that line before I ever met another writer or read anything they’d said separate from their books (though now it varies), it doesn’t mean quite what you think it means. We love telling stories not wrestling with words. Actually I now do love wrestling with words, but not when it’s going poorly. 🙂


    1. I’ve seen far too many writers more interested in leaping to the getting published part and not wanting to do the work. It’s awfully hard to find motivation if it doesn’t start out being fun. And even harder to find motivation when things become challenging.


      1. Again, I have to disagree. My motivation when I started out was wanting this gorgeous story to read. It wasn’t fun because my words didn’t live up to what I wanted. (I was seven, so yeah.) Eventually, you get good enough to write something you want to read. It’s not fun when it’s not working, but that wasn’t my motivation. My motivation was I WANTED that story, that it is wanted it written. Loved the having written, not the writing.

        Obviously, that’s not what motivates you, but that’s what motivates me which is why right now I’m wrestling with a story that I hate working on because every time I poke at it, the words aren’t RIGHT, but I know I’m going to love it when I have it. Sometimes I write fun stuff because I need the break, but it’s not a bad mindset; it’s just bad if you tie it to something outside the story, like publication.


  2. I love the research, and the writing.. But I will probably never be published for the simple fact that grammar and I have a long history of animosity towards each other and it usually ends up kicking my butt up between my shoulders. I have spent a lot of time on grammar sites, trying to relearn what I have forgotten since high school and my eyes blur and my brain shuts down. LOL. thanks for the post, I enjoy your blog


    1. But also remember it doesn’t have to be English teacher perfect grammar. My fiction keeps getting flagged by the grammar checker because sometimes fiction makes sense when it’s grammatically incorrect. Someone might speak in a fragment, and it might be very reasonable to start a paragraph with ‘but.’

      BTW, I’m terrible at spelling. I’m visual spatial, and I sometimes have trouble with remembering how abstract words are spelled.


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