Speechwriters make our living with words, so we’re not usually at a loss for them. But recently I turned a group of speechwriters into a slack-jawed, inarticulate mess when I threw the F-word into a conversation.

No, not that F-word.

I asked them how they have Fun. “What do you do when you’re not working?” Four in a row had the same response: Startled silence, nervous laughter.

Finally one brave soul said he enjoys fly-fishing, “…though I haven’t had time to do it lately.”

Now, I know our clients are Important People who deserve our best work. But I also know that I cannot deliver my best work if work is all I do. So for me, Fun is not optional; it’s an essential part of my schedule. Just as I boot up my computer every morning, I need to boot up my psyche regularly.

It’s great to have a big hobby like fly-fishing (N.B.: the fish may disagree). But we can find plenty of joy in the smaller, less time-consuming things we do. My own list includes: Playing with the dog. Reading The New Yorker. Singing. Doing needlepoint. Going to the theatre. Watching a baseball game (preferably one my team wins). Hanging out with my sweetheart. Writing something just for myself, not my clients. Laughing.

Incorporating these simple joys into my life makes me a happier, more creative person. And ultimately a much better writer.

Where’s the fun in your life? And how does it feed you?