Writing Is Not Easy

Don’t ever let anyone tell you writing is easy. It’s not. Sure, anyone can put something down on the page and come up with some sort of story, but some vast majority of the time, it’s utter crap. A Writer recognizes that the first dross vomited onto that page is always going to be utter schlock, and endeavors to make it less schlock-y.

Okay—maybe not all of it is schlock; there’s usually the nugget (possibly more than a nugget) of something good there, but a first draft is inevitably flawed, sometimes disastrously so. This, then, is where real writing comes into play. Writing is not the creative burst of ideas flowing forth like some sort of divine nectar; no one’s novel enters the world like Athena. It is with good reason the analogy is so frequently drawn between birth and the creative process.

My latest chapter is demonstrating all these truisms. When I gave it to my critique partners (CPs), I really thought there were maybe only one or two paragraphs that were suspect, and likely to be pounced on by my ever-vigilant friends. To my dismay, my inability to interpret the plot from outside my own head has—once again—come back to bite me in the ass.

But that’s why I love my CPs; they don’t pull any punches. They show me what works, and then turn around and tell me where I don’t even have a plot yet. They provide me with polarized schlock-glasses that cut out the glare of the pretty words I like so much and expose the remaining image for what it is: incomplete, vague, undisciplined.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you writing is easy. It’s not. To do it right, to make something that someone else will appreciate and enjoy takes skill; blood, sweat, and tears; and a boatload of perseverance. It takes a damn lot of practice, a commitment to constant improvement, and the ruthlessness to cut vast swathes of carefully crafted text from a manuscript with extreme prejudice when they simply don’t serve the story. A Writer keeps at it until they have something that is 98% schlock-free that they are proud to share with anyone who cares to read.

Some day I want to be a Writer.

One thought on “Writing Is Not Easy

  1. You know what always kills me? When someone reads a book, and then they don’t like it, they say, “I could write a better book than that.” I want to say, “Oh yeah? Let’s see you do it!” Show some respect for even the writers you don’t like – even they sat down and wrote the thing, re-wrote it probably too many times to count, and got it published.

    Until you’ve actually written a book, don’t say you can write a better one! You’re so very right, it’s hard!

    I look back at my first novel now – and my only to date – and consider it utter rubbish. I know how I want to change it and restructure it, etc… but I have all these other ideas and a few things I’ve started, and I feel so guilty because I’ve been sick for a long time and haven’t even come close to finishing anything!


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