The Superpower of Fun

By Julie, in disbelief that it is going to be in the 50’s today


FunThis time of year is always a bit of a blah for me, and this year is no different. In fact, because of a bout with the flu, I’m feeling more blah than normal. And retrospective. My gratitude list, which is long, wasn’t doing the normal job of getting me out of my slump, so I decided to reboot a bit, and shift my lens.

Last week I went to a presentation on the most recent Culture Track study. Part of the presentation has been sticking with me all week. It was about the prime motivating factors for participating in culture. (The definition of culture is also shifting, which is fascinating.) These are the top five reasons their data pointed to:

5. Learning something new
4. Feeling less stressed
3. Experiencing new things
2. Interest in the content

And the number one reason people indicated motivated them to participate in something cultural?

Having fun.

Earlier this year, I went to the memorial service for a wonderful Boston actor, Tommy Derrah. One of Tommy’s mantra’s was “if it isn’t fun, don’t do it.” Tommy’s ability to find the fun in everyday is part of his legacy, and one of the reasons he will be greatly missed, but not soon forgotten. I’d already been thinking about that phrase, and what it means to me, and then I learned that fun is a prime motivator for a lot of folks.

That doesn’t mean don’t work hard. That doesn’t mean that the work has to be light-hearted all the time. I had fun going to Hamilton, hardly the happiest of stories and a musical that makes me ugly cry at the end every time I listen to it. But the experience of seeing it onstage gave me joy, a complex expression of fun.

I’ve been thinking about my own life. How do I shift from blah to fun? How do I ensure that my legacy will be “she had fun, and helped others have fun”? How do I shift to finding joy even in the tough times? How can I lighten up a bit, and enjoy the ride more?

What about my work? Certainly the cozy genre means that fun is part of the contract we make with our readers. Even when we take a darker turn, satisfaction for the reader is one of our goals. Is satisfaction another expression of fun? I think perhaps it is.

Lately I’ve been noodling a slightly darker suspense story. I’m writing down the ideas as they come to me, while I continue to work on the two novels I have plotted already. I’m wondering–will writing something new be fun? I acknowledge that the process will be challenging, but will I find it fun?

More precisely, if I don’t find it fun, why would I put myself through it?

As a middle-aged, cranky Yankee, I have undervalued fun. I see that now. My mid-February pondering leads me to the question–can I reframe, and find the fun?

I’m going to give it my best shot.

How about you, dear readers. Do you have fun? If you could do something fun right now, what would it be?



38 Thoughts

  1. Hmm: I missed out on “read a book in the bathtub day” because my trailer only has a shower. THAT might be fun…

  2. Julie, you should know that I love being around you – you can make anything be fun, and your laugh is irresistible. I might never have told you before, but now I have! If we could, I would play hooky with you today and go for a walk on the beach, followed by a couple of beers together.

  3. My husband just did a training for his company that centered around how laughter impacted a team for the better. I find reading light fun books are a great stress relief.

  4. I’d noticed a long time ago that if I’m not having fun, I get grumpy quick. At this moment, I’d like to paint, oils on canvas not the wall, thank you very much, but it’s still too dark at 5 AM to do that. Maybe I’ll take a day off from work later this month and lock myself in the studio.

  5. The “fun” part of retirement is no schedule written in stone. If we decide to change plans or have no plans at all, it’s all good. Depending on the weather and how the aches and pains are for the day, we are apt to go or do anything changing from day to day. Today it’s sunny and warmer and old Arthur and Ritus are behaving themselves so thinking we might ride over the next “big” town for some shopping and fried catfish early dinner. Doesn’t sound like much but after having been cooped up for several days, it sounds like FUN to us. 🙂

  6. This middle aged Cranky Yankee has always thought of you as fun! (and as Dave Barry would say, great name for a band) I think we all have fun in different ways – it doesn’t have to be throwing confetti, jumping in the fountain fun – though if that’s your thing, enjoy. I find reading a good book fun and dancing, even in my kitchen, is great fun.

  7. Sometimes I think I don’t have enough fun. Then again, my idea of “fun” can be very different than a “normal” person’s (e.g., I think plotting murder and mayhem in front of a fire on a cold, snowy day is great fun).

  8. Such a relative blog for today and all the replies. Fun is in the eye of the participant. Notice I said participant. We can’t be observers in life-we need to do things. We need to find things that bring joy and smiles and put us together with people and situations that make that happen. The other side of that is we find joy in purpose. If we do things for people and with people, we tend to have an improved outlook.
    And you aren’t a cranky Yankee- I met you-but I bet you are happier when it is sunny!

  9. Okay some of ya’ll may be middle aged. However this southern gal turned fabulous last year! No more number birthdays for me. Thanks for making me laugh today!

  10. I read to get away from the world – in other words to have fun. And if I don’t enjoy a book, I don’t go back and read more of that author. It’s also why I constantly say I don’t read to get lectured to.

    Same goes for the TV shows I watch, if you couldn’t figure that out from all the superhero shows I watch.

    And I find mud runs fun. Heck, I’m sick enough that I’ve discovered that running is fun. (Someone send help!!!!!!)

    Yes, there are things to work hard on and parts of life that aren’t fun. But you need the fun to balance that out. Otherwise, you become miserable. It’s why I work to support my hobbies and will be looking for a new job that doesn’t assume that I only have hobbies because they haven’t given me enough to do. (Can you tell I’m not that upset my current job is ending in 10 weeks?)

    1. I have achy knees, but need to find a way to go out and enjoy things like mud runs, because they do look like fun. I have a friend who is trying to get me to do a series of beer run 5Ks. Craft beer at the end.

      Love the idea of working to support your hobbies. And on realizing that life is precious, so do it right.

  11. Hubs and I need more fun in our lives. It’s something we struggle with since there are things we have to do (home repairs, housework, etc) and things we are asked to do (family obligations) that leave us little time for the things we WANT to do. We’ve starting saying NO a lot when we’re asked to do stuff. Even if we don’t have plans, If it’s not something we want to do, we don’t do it, and we won’t be made to feel guilty about not doing it. Life is too short to do stuff you don’t want to just to make other people happy. We’re over it.

    1. I hear you, and am at the “no” phase too. I am also trying to figure out how to make some of the chores in my life more “fun”. Playing music while cleaning. That sort of thing. Maintaining life takes a lot of energy. Good luck!

  12. Oh yes. My mantra, at least for the last few years, has been “if it brings you joy, do it,” which goes a long way to explaining why I have a cottage in Ireland. But it can be anything, important or silly. And as others have said, don’t do things you don’t find joy in, just because you think you should. You get to choose. (One small caveat: don’t kill anyone or start any wars, okay?)

  13. I am deeply committed to having fun, even if things that are fun for me are not fun for other people. Some of my family are here in Key West next week and I have cleared my calendar. Let the fun begin!

  14. I love this post, Julie! For years I have been aware that the way that I write is to “follow the fun”. I truly believe that if it isn’t fun for me, it won’t be for my readers. I agree with so many other commenters that fun for mystery writers may be a bit unorthodox. Still, it seems to make a lot of writers and readers happy! Good luck finding morelight-heartedness in your life!

  15. I find reading fun & work as much of it in to may day as possible. If I have a couple minutes free, I’m reading.

  16. Thank you for this, Julianne! I definitely need more fun in my life these days. 😊 That’s something I think of whenever I see a photo of you Wicked Cozy Authors together – you always look like you’re having such a wonderful time. 🎉

  17. My motto is “I absolutely insist on enjoying life”. I find a way to make almost anything fun. It’s up to me to be happy or not. Why be miserable if it can be helped? It doesn’t have to be “big” to be fun. In fact, if I waited around for big things to happen, I would spend a lot of time waiting. It’s attitude. It’s fun watering my poor struggling plants because I can smile that they are still hanging there despite me! As much as I dislike and find it physically difficult to vacuum, it’s fun to see how nice the carpet looks when I’m done. Fun is out there – we just have to be open to it.

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