I write a lot of fragments. For those of you unfamiliar with the term as it applies to writing, a fragment is a part of a story, usually but not always the beginning, that goes nowhere and gets abandoned. Now this is partly because I have a lot of ideas and I'm one of those writers who can't usually tell if an idea is going to work or not until I've written a chunk of it. So I may bang out five or ten pages only to find that the idea isn't really going to fly.
However, as I was just discussing with Beth, one of the reasons I write a lot of fragments is because I just enjoy the act of writing and I don't always have a story I feel like telling. Some days I just want to put some words on a page, to feel them spiraling out of whatever place it is that they come from, so I choose a vignette, a dialog scene or a fight scene or some descriptive passage and I just write that, purely for fun. In many ways it's like sketching in my sketchbook. I often fill an entire page with nothing but drawings of the human arm or leg or torso. They are studies, not finished drawings. I'm not exactly practicing. Just being kind of Zen and totally absorbed in the act of drawing. Writing can be like that for me too.
A lot of folks get way too focused on being published and think that every single thing they write has to be geared toward something they can sell. If that's where their writing interest lies, I'm not going to tell them they're wrong. I like to be published too. But there is a certain pleasure to be found in just writing for writings sake. No pressure. No point. No expectations. Just you and the words.