Putting The Fun Back Into Writing

This piece, by Jesse Hines, originally appeared on his Robust Writing blog on 1/29/09.

Be honest: do you still have fun when you write?

It wouldn’t surprise me if many of you don’t derive much pure, raw enjoyment from writing anymore, given so much of the writing advice we constantly read in the blogosphere.

You know: post after post on how to improve your writing skills, how to write in a way that attracts more blog subscribers, how to write such that you provoke powerful calls to action, how to write to increase your sales, how to write posts on Twitter to gain more followers, how to write with flawless grammar and punctuation so that people respect you, how to write for the way people actually read on the Web, etc.

I’ve done a few posts like that myself…

But it’s all so much work, isn’t it? We know that all work and no play makes us dull bloggers.

Absolutely, there are plenty of reasons to learn how to write “better”; who wants to read bad, stale writing? And if you’re making money (or trying to) from your writing, it’s wise to improve your writing skills whenever possible.

I’m Bringin’ Fun Back

I majored in English, and I got to read fascinating stories by fascinating authors. Chaucer. Milton. Shakespeare. William Carlos Williams. Flaubert. Dostoevsky. To name but a few. That was fun. And writing papers analyzing those authors and their stories was also fun.

The power, creativity, and enjoyment of story-telling came barreling back to me this past weekend as I watched the new (and superb) film, The Wrestler. I’m not a wrestling fan, but the movie’s themes of haunting loneliness and fleeting redemption powerfully affected me. It was sad but inspirational, evoking real emotion. And Marisa Tomei…what can I say?

The Wrestler is a powerful story that displays the consequences of a life lived in almost exclusionary devotion to one’s passion, while neglecting the important people in one’s life. Sometimes, it really is too late to change–both who we are and the results we’ve brought on ourselves. That’s real life, and a good story conveys that.

My point is, writing, for any true writer, at its core, is fun, and an opportunity to be creatively unique, expressing happy or sad or humorous or grandiose ideas. As I alluded to earlier, writing effective sales copy (or learning how to) is important if you’re trying to sale something. But, sometimes, writers just want to have fun–it’s why we started writing in the first place, right?

Try this Fun and Creative Writing Exercise. Hemingway Did

In that spirit, I’ll be introducing you to some cool writing exercises over the next few posts–fun and creative ways to both express yourself and improve your ability to write concisely and effectively. It’s about putting the fun and creativity back into writing.

Read the rest of this article, which includes Jesse’s first suggested exercise, Six Word Stories, on his Robust Writing blog.  And check back in over there from time to time for more exercises to put the fun back in your writing.