I’ll be frank with you: when William Zinsser said in On Writing Well that “nonfiction is the new fiction”, he was correct…in a way. Nonfiction has taken the realm of literature by storm since the age of information, and the allure of facts and logic sometimes trump a good tale. Sometimes, a well-written true story will be more attractive than a work of fiction.
But despair not! Just because nonfiction may be more popular than fiction doesn’t mean it has to stay that way, or will for that matter. You can still employ fictional writing as a pastime, hobby, or job, because there is still demand for it. Granted, that demand may be less than that of fiction, but it’s demand all the same.
However, I bring this up to illustrate a firm belief of mine: if you want to get into the business of writing fiction, you have a long and difficult route ahead of you. Fictional writing for a job is extremely difficult, but still possible. Writing nonfiction is a much better way to get you a job, but if your experience is in fiction…I can see why.
Fiction, in my opinion, is much more fun to write. Also, in my opinion, it’s more fun to read. Nonfiction may be higher in demand nowadays, but when has that stopped me (or you)?
In the end, I write because it’s fun. I love to write, to create fictional universes with a keyboard and computer. Zinsser prefers to believe that writing is very hard and full of drudgery (there is truth to that, undoubtedly, something like when Charles Dickens says that he’s tired of “writing tooth and nail for bread”).
Pleasure is writing is relative. Some people box up the idea of writing a novel and file it away among their worst nightmares. For some people, the idea of getting their 60,000 word novel published is a literal dream come true. People come in many categories; including the writers and non-writers.
However, this article is all about writing as different things: a pastime, a hobby, and a job. I am inclined to believe that writing and can fulfill all of these roles, but if it only fills one or two, that’s enough. Remember, there’s always a reason for your writing. Don’t write to fill empty air unless you want to.
I just told you: writing fiction as a means of earning bread is not guaranteed to succeed. Writing nonfiction is more likely to do that. But this isn’t a reason for NOT writing fiction. If fiction is your passion, don’t give it up for money. But unless you write a truly stellar work, you’re not likely yo write fiction as a job.
Then there’s writing fiction as a hobby. Maybe you do it like a little project, something to be productive. Maybe you don’t like it nearly as much as playing video games or indulging your moviegoing habit, but you do it to square your conscience with doing something that’s better for you. You do enjoy it, but you also enjoy the bustle of creativity and accomplishment that comes with it.
This kind of writing is totally fine. It blends the idea of writing for fun with writing to sharpen your skills. The thing about this kind, however, is that your writing may fall behind if you decide to adopt more than one hobby. It just narrows down to the last kind: writing as a pastime.
Writing as a pastime…You have to be REALLY committed to writing to write purely for fun. You can write this way if you’re horrible at it, whether you’re a master, or whether you’re just a person with ordinary writing ability. But you love writing, and that’s why you do it. This kind is also acceptable, but if you’re really bad at it…then get better.
In the end, writing fiction for a job, pastime or hobby is fine, and I encourage them all. But in the end, if writing does not help you in any way, I suggest that you cut loose. If you can’t make money off of it, you don’t have fun, and you never have the time, then writing is not for you.
Of course, that means you just need to GET MORE TIME, START HAVING FUN, and STOP WORRYING ABOUT MAKING MONEY!!! Heh. But know that these are all possible options and things to shoot for.
Good luck, and happy writing!
Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Plus, I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the Resources tab. It’s full of super helpful material and I promise it will help you out. Until then, writers!