I’ve been writing novels since I was fourteen.
None of them have ever seen the light of day and I sincerely hope they never will. While I’ve always wanted to write books that people read, most of my early efforts had one goal: fun.
As other kids were playing Xbox, I’d come home from school and spend hours writing stories. It started with writing sequels to my favorite videos games, then my own wild stories–something resembling Resident Evil, Alien, and an a middle-schooler’s take on the Iraq War, all tossed in a blender set to puree. It was campy, it was awful, it was a blast.
I started writing a play last year. It was an attempt to say something important, which quickly strayed into navel-gazing. In an attempt to make comments about the world, I not only lost sight of the characters and the story, I stopped having fun.
My roommate and I have had plenty of conversations about sincerity. When watching a movie or a TV show, you can tell when the actors, the writers, and the director cared about what they were doing. You can tell when the mean it. You can tell when they had a good time making what they made.
There are many facets to creative work, but one of the most important is having fun. After all, the work is play and the play is work.