On social media, a reader recently asked a bunch of us authors which book was our favorite to write and why. I answered that my favorite book to write is the one I’m writing at the time.
Later in the discussion, the reader mentioned authors talking about “how much fun they had writing a particular book,” and it gave me pause.
If you were to ask the serious, abundantly gifted painter in one of my all-time favorite books, My Name is Asher Lev, if painting is fun for him, I’m 100% sure he wouldn’t start describing any rollicking good times he’s had at his easel. And in the sequel, The Gift of Asher Lev, when Asher’s father asks if art makes Asher happy:
“Does it satisfy you to do those things? Does it make you happy?”
“I’ve never known of a serious artist who was happy. Except maybe Rubens.”
“Then why do you do it, Asher?”
“I don’t know. I do it.”
Now, I don’t subscribe to an idea that all great artists and writers have to be grave or melancholy individuals, or that art can’t be satisfying to anyone who’s serious about creating it, but still.
I had to admit that the soul-deep fulfillment of writing doesn’t exactly translate to “fun” for me. I mean, sometimes it does, but not always. And not always in the moment.
YES, I absolutely enjoy being a writer overall, but many times (especially in critical times) when I’m working to finish a book, there’s a crucial sense of urgency to it.
I have to write this.
I have to complete it.
I have to get this story out there.
Somebody must need it.
I was in the midst of a ten-year-long stretch of maltreatment when I got the idea for Eubeltic Descent, the first book in my Eubeltic Realm series. But I couldn’t write that story while I was still trapped in the cage I was in. Even once I escaped that situation, it took another four years of pain and growing before I was ready to write the book. When I finally got to that place, my time pounding it out at my computer was a heavy time. I felt the weight of the work.
Hey, sometimes even in the beginning stages, while I’m scribbling out initial notes… I hadn’t even officially started writing Embracing the Outcast yet, the second book in my Crowns Legacy series. But writing about something that sensitive and close to my heart, something I’d never read about in Christian Fiction before… Just getting to know the characters better in my head and planning some of their dialogue had me weeping before I even started the actual manuscript.
And, no. It wasn’t a “tears of joy” kind of weeping.
Now, a couple of the contemporary romances I’ve written, Kiss and ’Telle? and The “She” Stands Alone—yeah! Pretty fun thrills I had while writing those. And when I was finally able to write The Movement of Crowns after imagining it since my teens, it was an utter pleasure.
Even so, the sheerest pleasure of writing for me comes afterward, when I get to take a little time to be my book-loving self and simply read the book I wrote and published.
Oh, that pleasure may include laughing, sighing, crying, throwing the book down, picking it up and hugging it—whatever the case may be. Other emotional and demonstrative bookish types know the deal.
But still. 😀
For any other dedicated writers out there, would you say that writing is fun for you?