have fun

The Rule 2

I’m a big fan of Neil Gaiman–both his work and the man. From what I’ve seen of him and read about him, he seems like a fairly intelligent, level-headed guy. This particular piece of advice resonates with me for a couple of reasons.

One, it’s counter-intuitive. The guy who laughs at his own jokes is kind of a buffoon, right? When you’re at a party and there’s someone off in a corner telling a story but laughing harder than anyone in his make-shift audience, you probably think the same thing I do: “Note to self: don’t be that guy.” In life, laughing at your own jokes will make you look a little silly. In writing, however, if you can’t find the fun in your work, how the hell do you expect anyone else to? Your own writing should thrill you, captivate you, make you giggle and sometimes scare you. If you don’t like reading your own stuff, you’re doing something terribly wrong.

It’s not that you should be egotistical. Far from it. It’s just that your first audience is you. Write what you want to read. Tell jokes you think are funny. Give the world the story you want to be told.

Two, I like this piece of advice because it reminds me that the very process of writing should be fun. If the process isn’t enjoyable, what are we doing it for? To make money? For fame? Those are lame, pathetic reasons. If writing has become a chore you dread, find something else to do. Life is too short to waste it on tasks you don’t find pleasure in.

Enjoy the journey. Write the book you would want to read, and have fun writing it. Then, whether the thing ever gets published or not, it will have been worth it.

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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