When I was younger, I don’t know where I thought books came from. I remember being frustrated that the next book in a series wasn’t out yet and that I *gasp* had to wait.
When I started writing, I was under the impression that real writers sit down at their computer with a cup of coffee, type up a couple chapters of perfect prose, and finish their book in a week or so.
It all seemed so simple. I knew how to type. I knew how to construct sentences. I’d read a bunch of books. How hard could it be?
Really, really hard.
And if you, like me, have believed the lie that writing is easy, I want to encourage you with this truth:
Writing is incredibly hard.
Super encouraging, right?
Writing isn’t for the fainthearted. Just like learning an instrument, it takes dedication, passion, and persistence.
Some days I’d rather clean the bathroom with a toothbrush instead of writing. Some days all I write is trash and deserves to be thrown into a bonfire.
But if that was the end of the story, we wouldn’t have any writers.
Since there are thousands of writers out there, obviously there must be a better side to writing life. And lucky for us, there is.
Writing is incredibly fun.
Some days I can’t stop writing. The words just flow from my fingers. Some days every sentence I write is pure gold and I’m sure my novel is better than any that Dickens or Lewis wrote. Some days I’d like to forgo eating so I can keep writing.
Days like those make me think that writing is easy. I feel like a “real writer.”
But then the next day comes and with it storm clouds that black out the sunshine of inspiration. Every sentence becomes drudgery. Discouragement swallows up all our confidence. Writing sucks.
This is the point where writers groan, “Why isn’t this working?” And here, many people give up.
This is the greatest juxtaposition of the writing life.
I like to describe it like the waves in the ocean. If you’ve ever been to the beach, you know that the sea is never still. There are continuous waves. Some have enough power to knock you down and others barely lap at your feet.
Writing is like that. You’re trying to build a sandcastle at the edge of the sea.
Between the waves, you make a lot of progress. Little bouts of discouragement sweep away some of the sand. Then a big one comes and destroys your motivation to keep building, to keep writing.
And here you have two choices:
- Give up
- Keep going
You can just abandon the sandcastle to the waves. Or you can build a wall around your castle to protect it from the water and keep going.
Sometimes there will be longer times when writing is nearly impossible. It’s like at high tide. You can’t get to where you were before. You might even be back to where you started your writing journey. And sometimes, high tide will last longer than expected.
But the ocean always returns to low tide. You won’t be stuck in the hard part of writing forever. Soon the moon will draw the waters back and you’ll enjoy writing again.
And the discouragement of high tide makes the productivity of low tide even sweeter (though it’s still salt water).