This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Anna Bell
When I was in the early days of my writing, I would enter numerous short story competitions and start new novels just to experiment with genres and writing styles. Yet now, with my busy publishing schedule (both self-published and with my traditional publisher), I realise I’ve stopped writing purely for fun. Do other authors and aspiring authors still write for fun – or is it always towards a goal of publication?
My publisher asked me to write a short story to help promote the paperback release of Don’t Tell the Groom. I had carte blanche on it, except the event in the short story happened prior to the main story and introduced my main characters. At first I was a bit scared – what was I going to write? I wrote the first draft after having an idea, but it didn’t work. After experimenting and playing with different perspectives, I ended up writing it from the perspective of a different character. It worked, and it was so fun to get inside another character’s head. I really enjoyed writing it; a story that I hadn’t planned, months in advance, and it reminded me a little of those early days of writing.
It got me thinking about stories I have in my head, which don’t fit my current publishing schedule. I’ve had an idea for a thriller for absolutely ages, for example. I planned elements of it on paper, and wrote a research plan, but had to shelve it because of my other publishing commitments. Since being on maternity leave, and spending endless hours feeding Baby Bell, the thriller has started to grow momentum in my mind. I have also been reading a lot more thrillers to research the genre, which is making me itch to write it. I don’t know when I’ll get time to research it properly as I’ll need to visit a few archives, but I thought I might start writing it as a pet project – as a hobby! The word I used to hate when people described my writing before I became a full-time writer.I’m lucky that I love the books I write normally. But there is a lot of pressure – whether it's from the books that are under contract for my publisher, or the pressure from my bank balance for my self-published titles. Which is why it's appealing to me to write something for fun. Something that doesn’t need endless edits and read throughs. To experiment and push myself – who knows what I might discover?
When I worked full-time in the museum, I wrote in the evenings to relax after work. I’m intending at some point, when my life calms down a bit with the baby, to write my thriller in my spare time. Part of me thinks that I’m crazy and I should step away from the computer at the end of my working day. But that’s how I used to relax, maybe it would no bad thing to do it again?
Do you have time to write for fun? Is it worth making the time? Or is it like taking a bit of a busman’s holiday?