How to make writing more fun

Reading time: About 4 minutes

Writing is work, true, but to help yourself be more successful at it, you need to learn how to make writing more fun….

If you love playing tennis, do you procrastinate when a friend asks if you want to play a game?

If you adore baking, do you postpone making cinnamon buns, chocolate cookies or a German chocolate cake?

If you get a charge out of listening to music, do you let yourself work in silence while you’re washing dishes, cleaning the house or doing boring clerical work like filing?

I’m guessing your answer to these questions is no.

So, if you really, really want to write, why do you so often postpone writing?

I think the answer is because it’s not nearly enough fun. Here are seven ways to take the sometimes challenging, often frustrating and occasionally boring work of writing and turn it into something that’s a lot more fun.

1-Always begin with a mindmap

If you’ve never tried mindmapping before, experiment with it now. (Here’s a link to much of what I’ve written about mindmapping.) I’m a big believer in “inspirational mindmapping,” which means I mindmap just before writing, every time I write. If you’ve tried mindmapping before and found it didn’t work for you, be aware of the eight biggest mistakes new mindmappers often make:

  • They don’t turn their piece of paper sideways. Mindmaps should be done landscape fashion, not portrait mode.
  • They do it on a computer rather than by hand. Hand-created mindmaps are so much easier and more rewarding for writers.
  • They put a topic in the centre of the page rather than a question. Force yourself to ask a question, and your mindmap will be so much more powerful.
  • They write too many words. Mindmaps should be short and succinct. Each “thought bubble” should have no more than seven words.
  • They edit themselves while mindmapping. If an idea occurs to you, write it down. You can always ignore the thought later.
  • They just write facts rather than more interesting stuff like stories, anecdotes and examples.
  • They don’t draw circles around their thought bubbles. A circle shows that you’ve finished. It’s like the lid on the box or the icing on the cake.
  • They forget to do a mindmap before writing.

When people tell me that mindmapping “doesn’t work” for them, I can confidently say that they’re doing something wrong.

2-Write every day for a SMALL amount of time

Anything we do every day becomes more fun. This is because writing requires conditioning. If you’re not in shape, writing is hard. But if you’re fit, it becomes much easier. Imagine yourself to be an athlete training for a 10-km race. Would you run 10 km on your first day of training? No, of course not! You’d start much smaller than that until you’d built up your lung and leg capacity.

I meet with many writers who immediately want to gravitate to a one-hour writing slot. They are often distressed when I suggest they start with just five to 15 minutes. Then, after a week, they’re grateful to have settled on the shorter amount of time.

If the time seems “easy” and doable to you, you’re much more likely to do it.

3-Write to sound

When I was in high school, my mother forbade me to listen to music while doing homework. I’m not bitter about it (well, not much!) but I know that she was wrong. Research from 2012 shows that most people achieve peak performance under conditions my mother would have decried — 70 decibels. That’s the level of sound you’d hear in a busy coffee shop. And isn’t it interesting that writers often go to busy coffee shops to write? (I don’t think it’s a coincidence.) We’re not just seeking caffeine, we’re also looking for the comforting, convivial sounds of other people.

If it’s too inconvenient to decamp to a coffee shop, try a free app called Coffitivity. For absolutely no cost, you can choose between morning murmur, lunchtime lounge and university undertones.

While most people are familiar with the term “white noise,” (ignore the preceding ad if you play the link) which is often marketed as a sleep or concentration aid, fewer people have heard of brown noise. Listen to it here. (This link will work for eight hours if you want to use it while writing.)

And of course, you can also listen to the sounds of nature (YouTube is a ready source) or music. Just avoid music with lyrics — they’ll get in the way of your writing.

4-Write in different places

Many of us get stuck in a rut — the very definition of something that isn’t fun — and we go to the same old place to write. Our desk.

Give yourself a shot in the arm by going somewhere else for a change. What about a high-ceilinged library? (Researchers have found that subjects occupying a room with ten-foot ceilings score higher on creativity assessment tests than subjects who do the same exercises under eight-foot ceilings.) Or go to one of the coffee shops I mentioned in point 3.

Or, when the weather cooperates, take your laptop and go write in a park or under a tree in your backyard. (It recently snowed in Vancouver, so I’m counting the days to warmer temperatures.) The change in setting not only makes writing more fun, but it also gives your creativity a boost.

5- Dictate (while walking)

Writers sometimes tell me they think dictating text is a form of “cheating.” Nothing could be further from the truth. If the words come out of your mind, you’re still writing; the mechanics don’t matter.

People who dictate will always write faster than those who type or write by hand. That’s because your voice has an easier time keeping up with your brain than your fingers do. And dictating is much easier on the body than writing or typing.

Best of all, dictating allows you to walk while writing. And that alone will make writing more fun and more creative for you.

If you want to get specialized software for dictating, I recommend Dragon Dictate (I’m not a reseller so I’ll make no money if you buy.) Otherwise, just use the dictate function on your cellphone and email the files to yourself.

6-Reward yourself

When we give ourselves rewards, we’re more likely to feel recognized, happy and cared for, which is definitely a lot more fun! And that very sense of self-command will help us maintain a healthy writing habit.

Instead of making yourself wait for the big kahuna goal at the end, a published piece of writing, give yourself small but regular rewards throughout the writing process. Whenever I speak with clients about this concept, I’m usually able to convince them of the value of rewards fairly quickly. Then comes the tricky question: What should those rewards be?

I’m not of the chocolate-brownie school of thought. I don’t believe it’s wise to use food, particularly unhealthy, sugar-filled food, as a reward. I also don’t believe that daily rewards should be expensive. Here is a list of 15 healthy and inexpensive rewards you can give yourself:

  • Enjoy a specialty tea or coffee (or a healthy drink like kombucha)
  • Buy a magazine
  • Get yourself a new book (and if that’s too expensive, make it a library book)
  • Spend time on Facebook or whatever other social media you use (use a timer!)
  • Give yourself time to read a short story or novel
  • Call a good friend on the phone
  • Take a bath or a long shower
  • Go for a walk in the park or at a beach
  • Go window shopping at your favourite mall or store
  • Listen to music
  • Watch a show on TV or Netflix
  • Play your favourite online game
  • Do a crossword puzzle
  • Take a guilt-free nap
  • Listen to a podcast
7-Don’t worry about being original

Many writers tie themselves in knots because they’re so concerned about the nature of what they’re producing. Is it good enough, they ask themselves? Is it original enough?

Stop worrying about the originality of your work. In fact, there are almost no new ideas. Just about everyone has copied someone else. Think of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans. (Did you know that many of Shakespeare’s 39 plays were based on ideas or concepts that came from elsewhere? This doesn’t belittle Shakespeare’s achievements. Instead, it just shows how unimportant originality is.)

The best artists always seek to make connections and to improve, not to come up with something brand new and totally different.

Salvador Dali said, “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” He was right.

Make your writing fun

It’s not immature or facile to want to make your writing fun. Here’s why: If it’s fun enough, you’ll do it more often and you’ll get much better at it.


My video podcast last week addressed how to tell stories in science writing. Go here to see the video or read the transcript, and you can also subscribe to my YouTube channel.


Need some help developing a better writing routine? Learn more about my Get It Done program. There is turn-over each month, and priority will go to those who have applied first. You can go directly to the application form and you’ll hear back from me within 24 hours.


Do you know how to make writing more fun? What tricks do you use? We can all learn from each other so, please, share your thoughts with my readers and me in the “comments” section below. If you comment on today’s post (or any others) by Jan 31/24, I’ll put you in a draw for a digital copy of my first book, 8 1/2 Steps to Writing Faster, Better. To enter, please scroll down to the comments, directly underneath the “related posts” links, below. Note that you don’t have to join Disqus to post. See here to learn how to post as a guest. It’s easy!


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