How to Write a Novel By Daniel Nathan If you’re not writing for fun, you’re missing out. Big time. Fun, engagement, and productivity are related concepts, think of them as three edges of the triangle of success. You enjoy something, so you do it more frequently. You are engaged with your task because you find pleasure in what you do. You are more productive because you are more engaged. Success comes shortly thereafter. However… …Sometimes writing can feel like a bit of a chore. Surely you’ve noticed that during these mind-numbing periods, everything seems to turn into an uphill battle (even the things that were simple before)? You may think that you’re having a bad time because things got tough, but perhaps things got tough because you weren’t having a good time? Writing can be a tricky business, but I think things would be much better for us all if we loosened up and had fun with our work. But enough small talk. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, and show why you should consider writing for fun first. 1. Your writing will be more entertaining. If you’re not having a good time when writing, how can you expect your readers to have a good time when reading? You and your readers are telepathically connected through your words (they feel what you feel, the good and the bad). Boredom seeps out of the page. You can’t escape it. If you do not find pleasure in your writing, then it is nearly impossible for you to make your reader enjoy your work. And a bored reader will soon become entertained…by somebody other than you. Think about this, why did you get into writing in the first place? It must’ve been because you enjoyed some aspect of it. Maybe it was the lore-crafting that attracted you, or perhaps creating characters that evolve on the page and connect with your readers? Focus on the parts of writing you love, and keep them in mind. We all have parts of the writing game we dislike, but that’s true for anything, even our most loved hobbies. Heck, there are parts of playing video games that get on my nerves. There are parts of going on night-outs with my friends that I really don’t like. But guess what, I do those things regularly because I recognise that the cons do not outweigh the pros. The same thing should be true for your writing. When you focus on what entertains you about writing, and you put your heart into writing something you enjoy, you increase your chances of success. The enjoyment you feel will be evident in your work, automatically making your words more entertaining to read. 2. Your writing will flow. So let’s say you’re now working on a project which has captured your heart. It is now likely that you have become more engaged, and the words just fly off the end of your fingertips. This is what all the cool kids call being in the zone. Everything just comes together and is carried off in a divine current. We’ve all been there with our writing (when we were having fun and actively engaged in a project). The key is to try and exist in this state, not merely dip in and out. The good news is, this is really simple to achieve. It all goes back to ensuring that you are having fun. Whatever your current WIP is, as long as you are writing it for fun first (that is, you are writing something you would like to read), then chances are you will be heavily engaged with the project. It’s impossible for you not to be engaged while you are enjoying what you do. Engagement and enjoyment go hand-in-hand. Here’s the best part, not only will your project flow from your mind to the page, but it also flow from the page to your reader. Everybody wins. 3. You will kill writer’s block Ah, sweet, sweet productivity. When we have fun, there are no barriers. There are no blockades. Notice that I did not say that there won’t be any difficulties, but at least you won’t be sitting there with a blank screen, tearing your hair out and rethinking your life choices. When we are not having fun, the writer’s block is quick to show its ugly face. It knows that we are not having a good time and quickly surfaces to join in on the pity-party. And because you are not enjoying yourself, it becomes a great deal more difficult to muster the strength and ingenuity needed to overcome your obstacles. In contrast, if you are having fun, and you are engaged in your current WIP, then any obstacle that hits you, hits much later and with less force. Instead of saying, “Damn, I hate this! I can’t think of anything!” You say, “Hmmm, what can happen next? Oh, I know! This would be really cool…” The writer’s block is made of ice, and you’re a giant fiery death-ball of writing glory. Obstacles simply melt away. There you have it! I’m not saying writing for fun first will solve all your problems and make everything one easy trip. What I am saying is that writing for fun first has three great benefits that are sure to help you out. Most importantly, you will remember how much fun it is to write fiction. Sometimes we can take it for granted. Enjoy your craft, you’ll convey that sense of enjoyment to your readers. You’ll make your writing smooth as silk. And writer’s block will become less scary. So, what do you think about all this? Is writing for fun first something that you feel can help you? Do you write for fun already, if so how has it helped? Don’t be shy, share your comments!