Rule 0

I have an unwritten rule for myself with it comes to writing. I call it my Rule 0. What is this strange and mysterious rule that didn’t make the list but I keep sacred anyways. It is as follows; “Always remember to have fun.”

This might seems like a no brainer to some, and others may be rolling their eyes at my ‘childish’ way of thinking. But I have always tried to keep this rule when writing. If I’m not having fun with a project I drop it. I will hold on to all the work I had done up to that point in case I change my mind latter. But I will never force myself to work on a writing project if I’m not having fun.

As I’m sure some of you are aware this goes against common writing wisdom. Many say the best way to keep writing is to make it a habit, write often, at least once everyday. But I find if I try to force my writing I burn out quickly and I end up with almost nothin to show for it. No for my money it is better to write when your excited to write. And to write what your excited to write. I spent a good three years trying to force myself to write a book to say that I had done it. And I did, despite the fact that the book remains unpublished.

I was excited to write that book at first, but the more I tried to force myself to work on it the more frustrated I became. And when I look back at what I’d written it was rather subpar. What do I have to show for three years of writing effort. Not a whole lot, I can’t even say I had fun writing it or that they story excites me anymore. So now I write for fun, and only when I’m having fun, and only about ideas that excite me.

I would be remiss not to mention the obvious exception for rule 0. I realize that a lot of people write for work and that’s not always fun especially when you have to write 3 articles a day to make ends meat. Work is not always going to be fun but you do get paid for it so it’s important nonetheless. That being said rule 0 still has something to say about writing work. If you are waking up everyday dreading work, if you haven’t had fun with your writing not just for days but weeks–it may be time to consider a change in jobs. No job is making yourself miserable over, even if it is one of those supposed ‘dream’ jobs.

But that’s just what I think….

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