Writing is hard. I take comfort in knowing that even the best writers agree.
Hemingway once said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Anything that requires bloodshed is not easy — trust me, I’m a woman with two precious children!
I’m the type of writer who agonizes over every sentence. I read and reread my writing until the words might even lose their original meaning. I just know there is always a better way to say it.
My writing process, as all my dear friends know, encompasses the art of procrastination. I have perfected the art. I have acquired the skill of doing more reading and more research to postpone the actual act of actually writing which salves my conscience by convincing myself I am working on the book!
I have wondered over and over — why is writing so hard for me?
Why am I even doing this? The answer to that is why I keep pursing a completed project! I believe this book is a call from my heart.
Here are the three main reasons I and many other writers agree with as to why writing is so difficult for some writers, including me.
Try telling a perfectionist “done is better than perfect.” So I often write something and say good enough! But my inner critic has lots to say. Perfectionism is exhausting. It is like looking in a mirror where you see a loved image, but it is slightly blurry. Even when you try to make the image clearer, it often doesn’t end up that way. You may just wind up annoyed and overwhelmed by the process of rewording and rewording trying to make things clearer. Sometimes later you can feel too insecure to even start writing because you know that it will end in that not good enough dissatisfaction . That’s the worst thing about perfectionism — it can stop me and other writers from creating anything at all.
There is no cure for perfectionism that I know of. I know lots of tricks. The only way to get through it is to slowly desensitize yourself. I had to allow my work to see the light of day regardless of whether it’s acceptable to me or not. I finally shared my writing with trusted friends. I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable with my finished work.
One piece of advice that helped me is that I can always release a second version and that there are no completely finished works. There is always more to say in a better way. Even great published books have mistakes and critics. Keeping this in mind will hopefully allow me to publish this book while calming my inner panicked perfectionist who knows it is not good enough.
Many writers wait for the unseen writing Muse which are notoriously uninterested in inspiring mortals to finish projects. Waiting for the perfect time, the right mood, or the right day to come is like sitting in the waiting room of a doctor who is gone for the day. Nothing happens but feeling frustration. I would think about writing, wanting to be writing, dreaming about writing, may have even promised myself I’d write, but not actually putting my pen to paper or hands to keyboard. Days, weeks, months and actually years to be truthful have passed between writing sessions.
Fear of failure
It can be hard to really like your own work.
What if other people don’t like it either? What if they call you an unqualified writer? The thing about opinions is that everyone has one and they aren’t always true or helpful. Some of the world’s most beloved writers were considered bad writers because they didn’t follow traditional grammar rules or couldn’t spell well, or used too long sentences or too short. Even if you write a best seller like JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, you still can’t please everyone. Her work was rejected at least 12 times!
One of my life mottos has been “feel the fear and do it anyway.” I’m always uncomfortable sharing my work, but no matter the reaction I’m usually glad I did. Sometimes it is just a cry of the heart that needs to be expressed.
Writing is not for the faint of heart. Creating anything takes courage and determination. Writing has been hard for me, and remembering it’s hard for a lot of others too helps. The important thing is to show up, sit down, and just do it. Now to take my own advice and just do it!!