The Biggest Incorrect Assumption People Make About Writing
I recently had the dubious pleasure of meeting a woman, a friend of a friend type. We were chatting away and I mentioned that I write.
“Oh,” She said with an arched brow and a smirk, “I tried writing a book once. I just didn’t have the time to finish it. It was hard.” She seemed to contemplate things a bit further before adding, “I should really get back to that.”
“Yeah,” I forced out the words with a false smile on my lips, “You should.” I gulped down my glass of Pinot before hightailing it far away from her.
Something had stuck in my craw and left a bad taste in my mouth. Three little words, “It was hard”. It’s amazing how many feigned looks of interest you’ll get when you mention writing. It’s a disconnected and indifferent look of glazed eyes washed over with a polite little smile. It reads, “Anyone can write. How pedestrian.”
There it is. The biggest incorrect assumption that people make about writing: It’s easy. Anyone can do it.
The truth of the matter is simply that it’s incredibly difficult. The story has to be engaging, the characters have to be real. Manuscripts take time and you haven’t even begun the rewrite and revision process yet. It’s monumental and takes a special glutton for punishment to sign up for it.
George Orwell put it like this, “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
Dolly Parton sang about “9-5”. They must be incredibly daunting work hours… unless of course you’re a writer. You’ll come home and stay up late, writing away, getting it all down. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night and know that if you don’t write it down now it’ll be lost by morning. Friday night, everyone is going out, but you’ve just solved how the ending will come together! The baby is asleep and you should be too, this may be your only chance at rest, but you can’t resist working on that chapter that’s been plaguing your mind. You’re driving to work and still plotting the story out. Writers never stop because the mind never stops.
In conclusion, yes, you tedious wretch. Writing is hard.