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
Being a hybrid author (both self-published and traditionally published) means I’ve usually got quite a busy writing schedule, and I have a plan of action with what I’m working on. I usually write and edit, as per my plan, and I recently realised that this means I no longer write for fun.
Most of my time as an author at the moment goes on writing and editing, and any “spare time” I have I spend on social media and blogging. The only time I stare at a blank page is when I start a new project, which is pretty much always chick lit and heavily planned. Before I was published, I used to play about with book ideas in lots of different genres. I tried my hand at writing thrillers, erotica, literary fiction and generally whatever took my fancy. I also used to write short stories and first chapters of novels for competitions. Yet, now I don’t need to enter competitions and I haven’t had time for ages to do any writing that was outside of my scheduled plan, and it means I haven't been experimenting.I’ve recently submitted a novel to my publisher, and now I’m taking a break whilst my new book series is pitched. I was going to leave my laptop alone on the break and give my fingers a good rest, but I realised that I missed writing. I didn’t want to start working on the new book series, in case changes were suggested for it, so I decided to do something I haven’t done in a long time – I wrote for fun.
It’s quite a liberating feeling, writing for pleasure. Not to win a competition. Not to submit to people to be rejected, but just to see where the words take me. I sat down, and started writing about dust. I bet you’re thinking that sounds like a riveting read and you’re gutted that it was for my eyes only, but it was actually about the afterlife of those who had committed suicide. It was all quite dark and moody, without a hint of humour or romance, which are both usually the cornerstones of my books. It definitely had the potential to be the start of a novel, yet even though I doubt I’ll have time to finish it for a long time, it was just nice to flex my writing muscles.
Yes, it’s a bit of a busman’s holiday – writing for fun when I’m on a break – but because I wasn’t up against a deadline, and it wasn’t for anyone else to see, it actually felt relaxing. It reminded me of what it was like when I first started to write in the first place; before I used to plan books, and before I understood how to write them. It made me think that I need to make more of an effort to do it more often.
It got me thinking, do other authors write for fun? Is that how people start to write outside their usual genre? Is it important to sometimes write without purpose?