The hardest thing about writing…is writing

Seems a bit redundant, doesn’t it? We writers talk about all the vagaries of plotting and characterization, pacing and conflict, but when it’s all said and done, actually sitting down to write is often the biggest obstacle to overcome. Know anyone who has claimed to want to write a novel or has planned to for years and never done so? Know anyone who has 10-100 pages of 37 different novels sitting on their hard drive? Likely you have come across someone in either of these categories.  The simple fact of the matter is, sitting down to write and doing it consistently over a long period of time is incredibly difficult to do.

Maintaining that drive for weeks, months, or even years takes its toll. Creative energy ebbs and flows, life gets in the way, self gets in the way, and any number of other things pull your fingers away from the keyboard. More often than not though, this is an internal struggle. It takes a great deal of patience and discipline to be a writer. Novels don’t just write themselves and typically you don’t sit down and crank one out in a few days. I’m a big proponent of patience in all things, and writing is up toward the top of my list. Things don’t always go well when you write. It can become a slogfest. It can frustrate. Nothing can seem to go write. You can convince yourself you suck. All things work to pull you away from the keyboard. It’s a continuous struggle that probably plagues most writers most of the time no matter how long they’ve been writing.

So, if you are going to focus on one thing as a writer, especially as a new one, put your efforts into understanding and figuring out how to deal with the fact that it’s very, very hard to write over the long haul. If you honestly can’t do it, then maybe you shouldn’t be a writer. Simple as that. Doesn’t make you a worse person for it, but this is a profession full of discipline and tolerance for things moving at a slow pace, which is even more difficult in this modern world where things seem to be better the quicker they move.


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