Book deal? I write just for fun.

Three people, in as many months, have told me their creative efforts are “just for fun.”

This was in the context of showing me their wares — a brilliantly crocheted flower vase or a cat carrying-case re-purposed from a plastic water jug — and me remarking astoundedly, “This is fantastic. Are you selling them?”

Each smiled and said matter-of-fact, “No. It’s just a hobby. It’s just for fun.”

Once, I had a creative hobby that was just for fun. Once.

I used to be a scrapbooker.

<Pause for effect>

Yes, for about two years, I scrapbooked. I even had a scrapbooking friend — Debbie — who took me to a midnight scrapbooking event at a local crafts store in Tucson.

It was pretty much what you imagine.

Then I had kids, and unlike many moms who go scrapbooking crazy after birthing photogenic children, I just went plain crazy. Said craziness left me no time for cutting decorative borders and captioning weekends spent at the Jersey Shore.

My one creative hobby since then, which has only increased over the years since my day work has become more marketing focused, is creative writing.

In the last two years, especially, I have become a pretty serious creative writer and even started this year submitting some of my pieces to literary publications. No published pieces as a result of those submissions… yet.

So when each of those above-mentioned creative types told me they weren’t selling their pieces — not at a crafts fair, not to fancy shmancy boutiques on the lower east side of some city — I was taken aback; impressed, actually.

And I wondered.

Would it be possible for me to write … just for fun?

Without any expectations?

Of course, I do this already.

There are pieces (many) I have written that are sitting in a file somewhere, on a floppy disk in WordPerfect 2.0, that will never see the light of day, let alone end up in a literary journal. There are drafts of posts I don’t have the heart to delete sitting in limbo in a folder on the backend of this blog. There are starts of stories I never felt compelled to finish.

Were those all “just for fun?”

Before I get too didactic, let me clarify that I’m talking about the process, here. The intention.

Can I really write just for fun? Without the hope that what I write will become more than just an exercise,; will become

THE ONE?

The one that gets noticed?

The one that hits the right chord with the right person?

The one that gets me the top literary agent?

The one that enters me into the roster of authors that appear in a Prentice Hall Language Arts textbook?

The one that ends up sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard wrapped in a gorgeous cover with my name on it?

If “just for fun” means the same as, “for the sake of my sanity,” then yes, I write just for fun.

Or if “just for fun” means “I self-laughed a lot when I read my own blog post back to myself” then yes, I write just for fun.

But, more than anything, I write so that I will be read.

The reading by others is what makes my writing fun. This I know.

I just wish, sometimes, it weren’t so.

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15 thoughts on “Book deal? I write just for fun.

  1. Interesting, about the scrapbooking, I wouldn’t have guessed that! Well, I have to agree w/your second to the last line…there’s nothing better than to have something that comes from your head onto the “page” and have it resonate with others. But then again, it’s not fun to write sometimes because there’s a huge difference between what you would post for others to see vs. what you might write if it wasn’t going to be seen by anyone. One involves lots of work and editing. The other? Just thinking and writing and clearing the mind….love that you are doing some creative writing–I have never tried it but wonder sometimes if I could? Maybe a future challenge….

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  2. Robin, I think your blog posts are definitely classified as creative writing. When I first started, blogging offered me the freedom to play that reporting didn’t (I was a journalist/newspaper editor for a while). Blogging is now officially classified as “creative nonfiction.” This year, I have started writing poetry and fiction, which has been the biggest departure for me. But fun. And YES, I struggle with wanting to write on a topic/subject that I am both terrified of someone else seeing and yet, not quite satisfied if no one ever saw it. (If that makes sense).

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  3. When I write I write to express a thought or flesh out a story as best I can, and the process of doing that engages all my attention. Once I have done it, and only then, do I think whether it has a purpose. I never write to be a published writer. I write because it means so much to me, but paradoxically some publisher came across my Blog, and now I’m in the process of having a book published: would you believe it?

    I believe being noticed is the by-product of talent, and not an end in itself, however delightful that might be: that by not aiming to be noticed directly, you can sometimes be noticed. The rest is just luck and timing

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  4. I tend to agree with countingducks, write what you love and get really really great at it and then perhaps the publishing will come. Although, I don’t believe that most people will have the same good fortune to be “discoverd” by their blogging. I do love your writing, Jen. It’s probably just a matter of time and persistence.
    BB

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  5. I often wonder why I post anything, if I truly write for fun. I know I’m not bent on a book deal or fame, but wouldn’t turn it down either. At this point in my life, it’s more just of just writing for personal achievement and putting it out there for people to enjoy or take a pass.

    “The one that enters me into the roster of authors that appear in a Prentice Hall Language Arts textbook?”

    Was that the book with different grade levels like “Banners,” “Beacons,” and “Gateways”? I’m have a tough time pulling it up on the search engine.

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    • My great epiphany after reading your comment? When I blog, I write for fun. It’s been fun for me engaging with complete strangers who also love to write. This was a shift that took place approx. a year ago when I stopped caring about theme (write only about my Aliyah to Israel ) and allowed myself to write about whatever came to mind. Just wrote for fun…with no goal or “personal brand” in mind. So thanks for the comment and spawning my realization. (Btw, the text book in referenced was an amalgam of text books I remember from child hood)

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  6. Now that I have started writing again, after years of not, I find the writing itself fun. But there is something extra, something *more* engaging about writing when you know you have an audience and may get some feedback. I, too, wish it weren’t so sometimes. I write because the words bubble up and I need to put them down or they’ll boil my brain, but I probably write as much as I do these days because I know people will read it. And, truth be told, because I would love someone to happen across my writing one day and say “Aha! You should be published!” or something like that, thereby allowing me to forever escape the need to return to my office job.

    The WordPerfect reference made me giggle 🙂

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  7. We are kindred spirits. I agree with every word . . . starting with (pause for me, too) the scrapbooking. Jen, we moved into our house while I was still pregnant and I used one of the extra rooms as a scrapbooking room. A ROOM!! I bought a special big table, I had all the scissors, etc. Nowadays I can barely remember to get picture printed let alone do anything with them.

    As for writing just for fun . . . I like your point of separating out the intention. No, I don’t write just for fun. It’s not a bad idea and would probably turn out some interesting stuff. But then I’d edit and look for places to submit. So my ultimate intention would still be for the work to get read.

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  8. I’ve struggled with this myself. As much as I like to tell myself that my writing is purely for cathartic measure, I don’t get half of the enjoyment if I put my blog on Private that I do when I receive a new Follower, Comment or Like on an entry. I wish it weren’t so. But I think one of the things that makes it the most therapeutic is the nature of knowing that your venting or sharing of ideas is being seen and sometimes shared by others, even if it’s a bunch of strangers. You never know who you might reach with one simple post.

    Oh, and side note…Fellow sporadic scrapbook geek too. Three cheers!

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