People have different reasons for writing. For some, it’s a hobby. For others, it’s a livelihood. For most, it’s a hobby they dream of turning into a livelihood.
It’s a worthwhile dream, and a lofty one too. But what does it take to get there? How much fun will you have, and just how much work must you do to turn your passion for writing into a full-time job?
And if you do manage to make a career out of creative writing, will it still be as fun as when it was just a hobby?
Having Fun with Creative Writing
Young and new writers often come to creative writing because they find it enjoyable. Many are avid readers, so inspired by their love of literature that they want to create it. Others are compelled to express themselves on the page or share their ideas or visions with readers.
Most of us have experienced sudden inspiration. You’re sitting there and a poem comes to you fully formed. It’s finished within minutes, and it just might be brilliant. It feels like the poem came to you from some source outside of yourself. It’s pure magic. It’s exciting. It’s fun.
When we’re being creative, and especially when we’re tapped into that magical kind of creativity, it’s an extremely pleasurable experience. From the instant we start writing until our work is completed, we’re on a wild ride, exciting but dangerous too. Because if we rely on having fun, we may start to believe the many myths about writing that are floating around.
When the Fun Stops
It’s not uncommon for novice writers who have experienced the magic of sudden inspiration to wait for it to strike again. It’s likely that it will strike again, eventually. But waiting for this type of inspiration to hit you is a bad habit. You’re fostering dependence on a rare event instead of cultivating your creativity and developing good work habits.
Many hobbyists only write as long as it’s enjoyable. When they hit a brick wall in their story or finish a rough draft, they discover that blasting through the wall or delving into edits is not quite as fun as creating that first draft.
This idea that creativity happens magically is just one of the many misconceptions that inexperienced writers believe about the craft. These misconceptions are dangerous because they are beliefs that direct writers away from their work. And sometimes, being creative is hard work indeed.
Get to Work
Like anything, if you want to succeed in creative writing, you’ve got to work at it. I’ve tried many creative endeavors over the years, and writing is one of the most challenging pursuits you can choose. It requires a vast skill set, intense determination, and a willingness to work hard. It also requires a good measure of creativity, and you need business skills too. Talent is just the icing on the cake, something you’re born with if you’re lucky.
That’s why a lot of writers keep their day jobs and have no intention of becoming full-time authors. They want to stick with the fun stuff, so writing remains a hobby — something they do for personal pleasure. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But if you want to turn that hobby into a career, you need to be prepared to do the hard work that is required to succeed. That means writing when you don’t feel like it, finishing what you start, and doing the tedious work of editing. You know, stuff that isn’t necessarily fun.
One of the best thing young and new writers can do is prepare themselves mentally and emotionally for the writing life, and it starts with understanding that while writing is fun at times, it’s also work. At times, the work is immensely difficult.
The good news is this: it’s totally worth it, because reaching your goals as a writer — whether it’s getting a poem published or finishing a novel, is worth every challenge and struggle that it takes to get there, whether it’s pushing yourself to write when you don’t feel like it, blasting through a creativity block, or working through countless tedious edits.
Is writing fun? Yes, sometimes it is fun. Other times, not so much. But have faith, because the fun always comes back around.
Do you write as a hobby or is your goal to turn it into a career? Are you willing to do the hard work or would you prefer to stick with the fun stuff? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and keep writing!