Writing is not something that the majority of people would say that they love to do. It’s something that they have to do for school or work. The idea of writing for fun, doesn’t occur to most people because the idea of fun and writing just don’t go together. But writing simply because it’s something you enjoy doing has benefits that go far beyond the page; and anyone can do it.
Is writing for fun okay, or is it a waste of time?
It’s hard for some of us to embrace the idea that we are allowed to do things that we love doing, just because we want to. If we aren’t making money, or serving a purpose in someone else’s mind, then we are wasting our time. But to me, spending time having fun is just as necessary as working to earn money.
Whether you ever write a best-selling novel, or a paper that ends up in scientific journals, or a comic book that sells millions of copies, who cares? The purpose of having fun, of play, isn’t to necessarily become successful, but rather to give us a break from the climb to success.
Although, doing what you love consistently can certainly lead you to success in a way that may not be expected.
I’m sure that people told Stan Lee he was wasting his time, and look at the Marvel Empire that he was a part of. People probably told Walt Disney at some point to get his head out of the clouds and be realistic, but now his name is almost synonymous with magic.
That’s the thing….not everyone is going to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. They won’t understand that you enjoy writing to relieve stress, or that writing stories and putting them on the internet for free makes you happy. So many people think that it’s all or nothing – either you have to be award winning or not do it at all, either make a million dollars or don’t bother. But doing anything that you enjoy doing has multiple benefits.
What are the benefits of writing for fun?
The idea of play is to do so even if there is no visible benefit. It’s something that we do just because we want to. But, I know that some need to know if there is any benefit to what they are doing to be able to give themselves permission to do it. So here are just a few benefits to writing just for the fun of writing.
1. It can help you process your emotions.
For some people, myself included, it’s easier to write what I’m feeling than it is to speak it out loud. When you’re writing it down, you can edit your words until they actually make sense.
I do this quite often when I’m upset about something and I can’t quite figure out why. Talking about it with someone doesn’t always help at first because I don’t even know how to voice what I’m feeling. But through the process of writing, I can explore my thoughts and it doesn’t have to make sense.
The best way I’ve found to do this is through what’s called “free writing”. I explain the process more in depth in another post – click here to read it – but basically you sit down for at least 5 or 6 minutes and write everything that you think of. Don’t pay attention to grammar, spelling, or anything really. Just write.
In doing this you bypass the logical part of your brain; the thinking part that often trips you up. You allow those thoughts that you may be censoring, or refusing to acknowledge for whatever reason, or that you didn’t even realize were there, to shine through.
Even if the words you write are: Moving over the small ball wall tall mall all saw a bug in the light of life, etc, etc, Keep writing for at least 5 minutes. It may not make any sense at all, but somewhere in there will be a seed of an idea, or at the very least you’ve cleared that out and made room for a solution or idea to come.
2. It can help you learn more about yourself.
It’s often hard for us to wade through what others have told us we should be, and what our own unrealistic expectations of ourselves are, in our heads. We swirl things around, make ourselves anxious, and don’t really seem to get anywhere, because it’s hard to keep up. It’s like trying to untangle yarn that has been haphazardly thrown in a box over the years.
Writing, even if we’re writing fiction, can help us find out more about what we’re drawn to, what we don’t like, and what we really truly enjoy doing. What is it that you choose to write about most often? What would you immediately say yes to if someone asked you to help them research? What would you be excited to talk about if you were to ever be asked to write an article?
Another great way to learn about yourself through writing is to write yourself a letter. I outlined how to this here.
3. It gives our brain a break from the day-to-day chatter.
Let’s face it…we can drive ourselves crazy sometimes with our own thoughts. Especially when we have something big going on. Sitting down to write for even a few minutes a day gives us a chance to quiet these thoughts and focus on something that isn’t whatever we’re worried about. This relieves stress, which benefits our entire body.
4. It can help us gain clarity.
If you were working on something and couldn’t figure it out, I would tell you to walk away from it for a little while and do something else. The reason for this is that, if you’re forcing yourself to sit and stare at a problem that you can’t see a solution to, then you’re getting more and more frustrated as time goes on. This frustration becomes a fog that keeps you from seeing any possible solution you might be missing. The longer you sit there, the thicker the fog gets. But…if you step away, and do something else for a bit, you can come back to whatever you’re doing with a clearer mind and look at the problem with a fresh set of eyes. It works even better if you do something that you enjoy…like writing.
5. It brings out your creative side. (Which can also help you with problem solving)
Any kind of writing is creative. It’s why there can be so many different successful authors in the world. Even when the stories are similar, they are different because of the spin the author puts on the story.
Whether you’re writing fiction stories, non-fiction articles or information, or writing your own biography, your unique creative flair is what makes it special. And the more you open yourself up to creative inspiration, the more it reveals itself to you. So, no worries if you aren’t feeling very creative at first. Just start writing whatever comes to mind.
With that in mind, here are 5 ideas to get you started:
1. Keep a notebook or a pad of paper with you and write out little inspirations. (Or put them in a memo in your phone.)
I have found that if I try to remember the little inspirations that I have throughout the day, they tend to disappear. If I write them down as they come, they just keep coming.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
2. While you’re waiting for an appointment, or if you’re alone at a restaurant, write a little story about something you see around you.
Make up a story about a person or group that is sitting near you. Where are they from? Why are they there? Are they undercover spies who are trying to blend in? Did one of them just get a new job or a promotion and they are there celebrating? Let your imagination take over.
If you take the subway or a bus home, use that time to write about your day. That way when you get home you can leave your day behind you, relax, and enjoy your evening. If you do this daily you will start to see a big difference in your stress levels. You’ll also see a big difference in how your relationship is with the people you live with. If you constantly bring your work day home with you, you also bring that stress home with you. Leaving it at work, or getting it out on the way home, you allow your evening to be filled with things that you would like to be doing, rather than being filled with re-hashing the day.
3. Tell your own story, either as non-fiction or fiction.
Everyone has a story to tell. If you think you don’t, just start writing. Start with “Once Upon a Time” or begin writing little random facts about yourself. Pretty soon a storyline will start to emerge and you’ll see your story develop.
Some people get tied up with this one because they don’t want someone to see it and get their feelings hurt, or know their business. If you’re worried about this, but you want to write your story, do it in such a way that no one knows it’s you. Be creative. It doesn’t have to be a tell-all. It doesn’t even have to be factual. Make yourself a super hero, or a bug. Pretend you live on the moon, or that you have a made-up language that no one else can understand.
Another interesting idea is to tell your story from the perspective of someone else.
4. Write about what you enjoy doing.
If you enjoy gardening, write about what you’re doing in your garden. What are you planting and why? How did you decide where to put everything? Why do you enjoy gardening?
If you love science fiction, write about someone who lives in space and is friends with aliens. Maybe they are the only human who goes to an alien school.
5. If it’s super short stories that you enjoy writing, or even jokes, consider getting a pen pal and swapping stories. Or writing to a person who may be homebound, who could use a good laugh, or some encouragement.
Two organizations that would love to have your letters/cards: Love for Our Elders, and Gifts for Seniors. There are other organizations out there that work with children, or people that are hospitalized, etc. Whoever you resonate with, send them a smile.
This can help get your creative juices flowing too, if you are a writer and you have writer’s block. Why not use what could be seen as an annoying time to do something good for someone?
6. Don’t worry about whether anyone will like it.
When you’re writing for fun, it doesn’t matter if anyone but you likes what you’ve written. Just write and let your creative mind do the talking. Should you ever decide to publish what you’ve done, you can get an editor and worry about the finite details then.
7. Write what you would want to read.
If you have a story in mind, write it how you would want to read it. If you like a certain genre, write stories within that genre. I’m not saying don’t challenge yourself to write outside of your comfort zone occasionally, but I always recommend that people write what they like. That way it doesn’t end up feeling like one of those dreaded high school assignments.
I know that not everyone likes writing…but if you have any interest in it, pick up a pen and start writing.
Find a subject that interests you and start writing about it. Tell a story about the funny thing your dog did. It doesn’t matter what it is, or if you ever show it to anyone or not. What matters is that you’re having fun doing it.
(This is one of the more interesting journals I’ve had, and one of my favorites as far as creativity goes. It’s made out of elephant poop. Yep, you read that right, elephant poop. Mr. Ellie Pooh’s Handmade Recycled Paper-Elephant Conservation through Innovation. www.mrelliepooh.com if you’re interested.)
Post updated 8/8/21