Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Writing is Easy... Right?

Terry Rossio, an American screen writer, is quoted saying, “It takes courage to be a writer. Courage to face yourself, work through your demons and make your art.”

But wait a minute. Being a writer is the easiest job in the world, isn’t it? I mean, all you have to do is:

  1. Come up with an idea.
  2. Write down the idea.
  3. Get published.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the alternative end steps, like, become famous, retire early, and live luxuriously off the millions from book sales. Sound too good to be true? Probably because it is.

The truth is, writing is work – lots and lots of really, really hard work.

Being a writer means digging in, keeping on, never quitting, no matter how hard it gets. It means pushing yourself past the breaking point every single time, but not actually allowing yourself to break.

You push until you find out what the stuff is that you’re made of.

Writers are a special breed and most aren’t afraid to admit being crazy. They endure hours of solitude with the statistical promise of rejection waiting for them. They endure abuse from a little person who actually lives inside their brain (they lovingly call this little person ‘The Muse’ and are totally fine with the idea of that little person screaming insane things that destroys self-confidence).

Sometimes writers sit for hours on end, staring at a blank page. They spend uncounted amounts of time trapped inside themselves with I-am-such-a-failure type thoughts before, suddenly, something happens; finally, mercifully, words begin to flow. It’s crap – and they know it – but it’s still something magical and wonderful.

It’s writing.

The act of writing at times may be magic, but the continued practice of it, the stuff that gets something good written, something worth other people’s time – that, my friend, takes nothing but hard work, sweat and tears. Maybe a little blood once in a while too.

It may be a burst of passion – something to light a fire in your belly – that gets you started. But that alone will not sustain it, keep the beast fed. After that initial spark, you’ve just got to bare your teeth and walk head-long into the fire, loosing yourself in the frenzy of work. There’s no trick to it, just work.

You have to work at it, stick to it while everyone else falls by the wayside or until your manuscript is finally finished.

“Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice and need,” says Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire, and if that’s right, then true writers would be saints in his eyes.

Writing is work, plain and simple. If you like to think otherwise, you won’t last long. At least, there is no secret to overnight success for writers as far as I’m aware.

However, if you do know of a secret to becoming an overnight sensation please feel free to leave a comment below or drop me an email at fanger[underscore]amanda[at]yahoo[dot]com!


  1. I really enjoy your blog, Amanda. I think we have a similar mindset, which is why your posts are so easy and fun for me to read. You have a great writing style!

    That being said, you're right- writing is not easy. Actually, I would say writing is probably in the top five most difficult careers a person could choose for themselves..

    It's also pretty miserable. LOL

    1. Thank you Katie! I was just thinking that the other day when I stopped by your blog. Thank you a million times over!

      And yes, writing can be pretty miserable ;)

  2. I like that quote. It's so true! I used to think writing was easy when I was a kid, used to think that all I had to do was what you said above. Come up with a story, write it down, and get published.

    Ahh...well, it didn't turn out to be that easy. It IS work. But it's also rewarding--like any other job you're passionate about and work hard at. Thanks for this post!

    1. You're very welcome Cindy and thank you for commenting!

  3. It really has to be a passion. How many hours does it take to write a book? And how much does an author really get paid? Mostly just a measly advance, and those are the lucky ones!

    It really does have to be a passion...

    1. Writing absolutely has to be a passion because if you're in it for any other reason, then it's the wrong reason!

      Thank you for reading and commenting Isa!

  4. Well said, Amanda. You're so right. I've heard many people say, "I'm gonna write a book." They might sit down and right a few chapters, which kudos to them for even doing that. But after a while, it begins collecting dust on their hard drive.

    When I get asked how I can actually write a few hundred pages, I usually joke that it's nothing, you just have to be crazy. Truth is I do it EVERYDAY! It becomes a discipline, a habit, an addiction.

    Then, after you write that first draft, you celebrate. And, you should, that's a huge achievement. But it's only a stepping stone. You're nowhere near done. Editing, I find, takes much longer than actually writing the book. Sometimes, you have to throw away entire scenes or chapters and start over. Hell, you might have to throw away the whole manuscript and start over. That's writing! If you don't give up, you've become a writing junkie. hehe

    1. Thanks Jessica :)

      I know I've got more than my fair share of manuscripts collecting dust, but I've finally come to the point where I just really want to do this more than anything else and so I'm going for it! I'm working really hard towards that first stepping stone - the first draft.

      The editing stuff, I know is going to kill me! I have actually finished one other first draft and wanted to throw it away. Instead, it's tucked safely away in a drawer and I'll pull it out later on and get back to work on it, refreshed and with more determination than the first time.

      In the meantime, I'm working on a new piece and I'm sure I'll get to the same point with that eventually. ;)

  5. What a wonderful post! I randomly searched the hashtag #WriteOn and happily stumbled upon your blog. Write because you have to write just like you breathe because you would otherwise die.

    1. Welcome and thanks for visiting! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you come back often ^_^

      "Write because you have to write just like you breathe because you would otherwise die." EXACTLY!


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