Mark Terry

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Are We Having Fun Yet?

March 25, 2010
In my experience, golf is a lot of fun, but can be very frustrating. I don't play often, which makes it more frustrating, because my skills are--ha!--not very fine-tuned.

Bicycling for me is almost always fun, even on that long-ride-to-nowhere exercise bike at the gym. Karate, although I'm often reluctant to go, is almost always a pleasure once I'm there. Running, well, I'm working on it. It probably falls into the it's-good-for-me category, although I like the feeling of "being a runner." (There's a blog post there). Playing the guitar? Fun. Lifting weights? Oddly enough, I usually enjoy it. I'm always running into guys at the gym--very regularly--who have finished their workout and say, "Thank God that's over." I don't feel that way. I enjoy going and when I'm done I'm done, but it's rare for me to say, "Oh, I don't want to go to the gym, I'd rather stay home."


If my feelings about running are complicated, they're nothing compared to my feelings about writing.

Yes, I think writing is fun. But the fact is, it's a job. And having it as a job can take some of the fun away from it. (Sometimes it can take ALL the fun away from it).

It's extremely rare--let me emphasize that, because it's true, EXTREMELY RARE--that I wake up in the morning and think, "I don't want to write today." When I do, and it's only happened a couple times in over five years, it's a pretty good bet that I've been working long hours around the clock trying to finish a project or multiple projects. If anything, I worry about burnout more than other aspects of the writing business.

Here's the thing about writing fiction. Writing fiction is a helluva lotta fun. Sometimes I get stuck in the middle and things seem dead or I'm so frustrated by marketing issues or my agent or the publishing industry as a whole that I wonder what the frack I'm doing working on a story, but otherwise, writing a novel is fun.

The key is to not let all that OTHER stuff ruin the fun.

Does that mean that if I suddenly won the Lotto that I'd keep doing this?

I'm pretty sure I'd continue to write. But probably not quite as hard and certainly not all the things that I currently write. If my numbers came up and I was suddenly worth $200 million or so (or even, you know, $20 million or so), I can think of one or two clients and/or types of writing I probably would not revisit voluntarily.

So, yeah, I'm having fun. Most of the time.

How about you?


Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Tennis is fun for me, although I spend a fair amount of time uttering expletives and throwing things around.

Same with writing.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Used to play tennis all the time. Haven't in a long time. (I think it's a joke that people think running's hard on your knees. Go play tennis for a couple hours and see how the stops, starts, and lateral movements affect your knees!)

This week in my karate class the instructor had us lying on the ground a lot, rolling up on our hips, doing our basics and combinations from the ground. Not fun at all.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

We must be on the same wavelength. I posted something sort of similar today.

I have fun gardening. I have fun knitting. They always take me OUT of myself for a little bit (and as a chronic insomniac with an overactive mind, shutting my brain down a teeny-tiny bit is a GOOD thing). Writing is fun maybe 50% of the time. Wrestling with sales and proposals, and rewrites and angst and all the rest of it? Less fun. On the freelance side, I generally enjoy myself but I have a client or two who are bears.

If I were suddenly worth $200 million? I think I would blog for my kids, about life, etc., and I would selectively write fiction, but the day-to-day grind would change a lot. I'd do a LOT more gardening. A lot more knitting. LOL!

7:34 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Running was always fun for me, but then I am a total non-athlete so neither I, nor anyone else, expected me to run well. That I did it at all was remarkable! By simply trying I succeeded.

Writing is a different thing altogether. I love making up stories. I always have. But trying to make up stories that are interesting enough to other people to be publishable, and trying to beat the stories into publishable shape isn't really fun, particularly with the high probability of failure always looming. Unlike running, writing doesn't feel like play.

If I thought there was any way to get a decent sized audience for stories without going through a publisher I would almost certainly go that route and just enjoy the heck out of making up neat stories again without worrying about the other stuff. But I don't think there's any appreciable audience for self-published fiction. And with good reason considering how dire most of it is.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Without getting into my Baskin Robbins moods (31 flavors), I think from 20,000 feet I'm very happy. But where the rubber meets the road I'm not quite as sure. And I know part of it is just that I have several large deadlines and although I seem to be making progress on all of them, I have a feeling I'm going to be in trouble toward the end and I don't know what to do about it.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Actually, if you and Mary are done marketing your 19th century novel, you should consider publishing it for the Kindle. You can get a cover done fairly cheap or if you have any skill with PhotoShop do it yourself, & the upload, etc., isn't hard and there are some folks who would help for not much. The current Kindle royalty is about 70%, so if you priced it at about $2.99 and managed to sell it to 500 of your loyal readers, it might be worth $1000 to you.

9:49 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

I think it's like you and Karate. I don't want to go there, but when I am there, I have fun.

I suck at golf but I don't care. It just means I get to hit the ball more!

11:53 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

Taekwondo was the most fun I've ever had. Man, I miss it. Foot is notably improved, so I still have hope.

There's this great quote in Hope Floats about how the "American dream" is to take something you love and twist it until you can squeeze something out of it, and then in the end, you hate it. (So the main character is an architect for fun only.)

That's pretty much why I chose writing. I don't mind twisting it, and it's still fun. That's not how it was with piano.

But really? Writing rocks.

2:06 PM  
Blogger laughingwolf said...

at 5'16" and some 250# i'm not a running fan... unlike when i was a teen and 135# ;) lol

i do go on walks with my pup, tho... more so as it warms

as for writing, i force myself to do some every day, even if it's only replying to blog comments ;)

2:38 PM  

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