Writing Is Hard. Really.

If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do.
– William Zinsser

Ah, writing. It really is difficult.

I was talking to someone this week about how hard it is to write a novel. Not that I’m complaining, since I’m editing a novel now, researching for another, and plotting a new one as I write this blog post.

On the other hand, this blog post is a cinch to write. I’m just typing as I go, sharing my thoughts…may reread it once…and then I’m hitting publish. Simple. Done.

Writing a novel? Not so simple.

A Model A Ford crosses the finish line on South Main Street during the 2009 Newport Antique Auto Hill Climb in Newport, Indiana. 4 October 2009. Huw Williams. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

A Model A Ford crosses the finish line on South Main Street during the 2009 Newport Antique Auto Hill Climb in Newport, Indiana. 4 October 2009. Huw Williams. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

There are plenty of books on the bestseller shelves at B&N that I don’t think of as “good” in the sense of admiring the writing style or wanting to read them. But nevertheless, those books are on the shelves. They made it there. They didn’t die in editing hell.

Did I mention I’m in editing hell right now? I am, and it’s why I’m writing this post instead of working on my novel at the moment.

It’s not easy to take an idea through from beginning to end, especially when it’s going to be around 400 pages long. It’s not easy to let scenes go that you love but that don’t fit the overall flow. It’s not easy to go back and fix the characters that you’ve decided to morph mid-draft. It’s time-consuming, labor-intensive, and occasionally frustrating to finish a novel that you’re pleased to have your name on.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it. God knows, I am. And so are my fellow Purple Inkers, along with several other people we know from various critique groups. Novelists are brave and dedicated people. They all work hard.

What I’m saying here is that, for all my complaining about the cheesy novels I think are written badly, when it comes down to brass tacks, I have to admit:  I admire these authors for finishing their piece and getting it published. No matter how good or bad any book on the shelves may seem, every person who has finished their product has finished. And that deserves kudos.

It’s kind of like marathon-running. Lots of people do it. Many others never do it. It’s something I will never do, because it’s not for me. But I respect anyone who does it because it takes time, commitment, sacrifice, discipline…and the courage to keep going when you’re tempted to stop running.

Whatever it is that you love…whether it’s writing, running, or something else…keep it up until you hit your version of the finish line. I’ll be doing that this weekend. Getting back to editing the novel. How about you? What are you aiming toward, and how are you encouraging yourself to keep going? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


2 thoughts on “Writing Is Hard. Really.

  1. I’m starting to think that simply being able to write is only the first step.

    Actually writing, actually finishing, actually revising and then actually having the guts to send that thing out is more important than being able to write, I think.

    As evidenced by your books on the shelves that aren’t that great. 🙂

  2. I think it speaks to who we are that we still endeavor to write, edit, discuss, revise…continue! The difficulty of writing is something I find appealing in a way and I venture to say that both you and D would agree with me. To create is to suffer, but it is also to feel whole.

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