QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Monday, June 3, 2013

Where’s The Fun?

by Stina Lindenblatt @StinaLL

©Stina Lindenblatt

For most writers, we write because we love it. We have fun researching story ideas, creating story worlds, discovering who our characters are, and coming up with ways to make them miserable.  And we enjoy watching our words come to life on the page.

But after a while the fun fades.

We struggle with writer’s block, characters that won’t behave, and plots that have more holes in them than a cheese grater. And no matter how hard we try, we can’t please all our beta readers and critique partners. Then we have to deal with rejections, endless waits, fear that the cybernet monster ate our query/requested material/offer of representation.  We wonder if we picked the right publishing path, the right agent to query, or the right agent who offered representation. We question just about every decision we make, again and again and again.

Eventually our books are made available, either through a traditional publisher or self publishing. We stress over our covers. We stress over our marketing plans. We stress if we have enough Facebook author ‘likes’ or if enough people have subscribed to our newsletter. We stress over our reviews. We stress because what else is there to do? Oh yeah. That’s right. We stress because of looming deadlines.

With everything that is expected of us, it’s often hard to remember why we started writing in the first place.

The remedy? Step away from your desk, and go out and have some fun!

Summer is rapidly approaching. This is the perfect time to see a movie with your friends or family. Have a picnic. Go for a bike ride or hike. Have a chocolate treatment at a spa (because, after all, we are chocolate-loving writers). Try out paragliding or bungee jumping. Run around in circles like you used to do as a kid (though you might want to skip on this if you suffer from motion sickness). Draw pictures on the sidewalk with chalk. Play hopscotch. Go to the zoo. Take up a new hobby. Sign up for an art class. Spend time with your kids (you remember them, right?) Do whatever you need to do, but make fun your number one priority.

When you have fun, your stress hormone levels decrease, which is great for your health. Decreased stress increases your creativity and will make your muse happy. Doesn’t that sound better than sitting in your chair and refreshing your inbox for the thousandth time, in hopes of hearing back from an agent who just went on vacation—and didn’t announce it on Twitter? Your project will still be waiting when you return, but you’ll return a rejuvenated and happier writer. A happier writer who remembers why you started writing in the first place: because it’s fun.

What do you like to do to have fun? When was the last time you took a break to have fun?

Stina Lindenblatt @StinaLL writes young adult and new adult novels. In her spare time, she’s a photographer and blogging addict, and can be found hanging out on her blog.  


Martina Boone said...

Okay, great job on the fun thing :) . The muse approves. And it is an important subject. There's that famous Robert Frost quote about no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. I think that goes for fun too. If we don't enjoy and feel passionate about our work, no one else will either.

For me, writing is the best fun. But I do lots of other things too. I have to, or I don't have the perspective I need to write well. Doing other things also gives me an appreciation of how lucky I am to sit down and be able to write. It's truly a miraculous way to pass the time.

Have a great week!

Stina said...

Thanks, Muse, I mean, Martina. I took my advice and watched EPIC with my kids yesterday. :D

Mirka Breen said...

All the angst you describe, ^ all true. I like you solutions, too.

Here's a novel idea, taken from Jane Yolen's TAKE JOY. How about taking it less seriously? All but the work itself, of course.
When it gets stressful, take joy in the process, not only the getting-away from it.

Kelly Polark said...

Love it! I agree! Have a great summer, Stina!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I definitely need some fun this summer. I'm feeling pulled in too many directions and it's not feeling like fun. Thanks for the permission to just go do something fun.

Rosie said...

For me it's the beach. Once my toes hit the sand, everything else just falls away. . .