Why Do We Do It?
Dorothy Sayers is quoted as saying, “Man is never truly himself unless he is actively creating something,” which says quite a bit. There’s a lot that goes into writing. It’s a craft that we’re all constantly learning, but for some it goes beyond knowing how to write a proper sentence, getting an A on a paper, or sending in a properly formatted invoice. Writers not only learn how to manipulate and stylize words but also generate new places to explore, new people to meet. They show what people can’t see and find new ways to look at what people can.
But why do they do it when it just seems so difficult? Why IS writing so difficult?
Here’s a few good reasons why.
It’s More than an Act of Writing Things Down
For one thing, there’s more to writing than just words. Even if you’re not writing a story, your words should have meaning behind them. So when writers sit down with an idea in mind and they start to write those first few sentences, they have to do more than just put down the words.
Depending on what kind of book you’re writing, you have to learn more than just writing well. If you’re writing creatively, you have to learn and explore the world you’re creating before anyone else can. That takes a lot of work, mainly because you’re developing your voice and that world as you improve and grow more confident in your practice. This is why people say that writers need to write regularly in order to get better at it. If you don’t put in the effort to get better, you’re not giving yourself the chance to better what you’re creating.
I think this is where the difficulty of writing comes in. Creating can be a difficult process, and sometimes nothing turns out the way we want it to. We get frustrated. We start to wonder if what we’re even doing is worth it. But if we have an idea then it’s important that we don’t just write it down. We have to put a lot more into it than that.
We’ll Never Fully Understand Writing
I’m kind of stealing this from Hemingway here. He once said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
But that’s true isn’t it? Good writers never stop learning, and they never stop trying to be better. Yet learning about ourselves and the world around us is a never-ending job. Writers may show us with their words things we’ve never considered before, but they’re still growing and learning like the rest of us. There’s no time to learn everything. It would be like trying to read every book in existence.
The thing about writing is that it’s so deeply grounded in being human and the human experience. But it’s not in our nature to know everything. It’s in our nature to learn. Writers have to figure out how to help others do just that. So with that, writers are constantly learning to teach others, and good writers try to learn all they can, but there’s never really an end goal in sight. They just keep going.
We Put A Lot of Pressure on Ourselves
This one is probably the most obvious. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to writing. We get in our heads to the point where the fears that haunt us are the only things we think about. So when writers sit down to write, they express self-doubt, believing they aren’t good enough, smart enough, experienced enough to write what they’re currently working on. Or they’re perfectionists, constantly going over what they’ve written and insisting it’s not where they want it to be. They may even be past the writing stages, but they don’t have the courage to share their words.
All of these different fears work to keep writers from actually writing, or it at least makes the writing process more difficult than it needs to be. So in this case the writing itself isn’t difficult. It’s just difficult for us because we make it that way.
We can cut out a lot of the difficulty when we get out of our own way. When you sit down to write know this: 1) You’re practicing the art of writing, not the art of being perfect at writing, and 2) You’re supposed to learn from your mistakes, practice, and keep trying. Otherwise there’s no challenge to better your craft or any room for growth.
Want to know more? Click the LEARN MORE button at home. You’ll find some helpful links to my work in journals, which I have started posting here too. You can find me in Ariel Chart, The Cedarville Review, Nailpolish Stories, Bluepepper, 50 Word Stories, The Aurora Journal, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, The Drabble, and Anti-heroin Chic, Art of Autism, Your Daily Poem, and Sledgehammer Lit. You can now also find my FREE microchap at Origami Poems Project, which I am also offering here.
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