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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Writing Is Hard, Not Writing Is Harder

quoteOne my coaching clients asked me, “Why didn’t you tell me writing was going to be so hard?”

I’m pretty sure I did. And I’m pretty sure my mentors told me writing is hard work and yet I remember how surprised I was when I made my own transition from the high of writing when I was inspired and only when inspired to the sober commitment to write even when I wasn’t.

It’s hard to show up when you’re not bursting with a great idea. It’s even harder when you don’t even have a clue where to start. And harder still when your Saboteur shows up to mock and assault your feeble efforts.

It’s hard to honor your 15 Magic Minutes commitment when it seems there’s nothing magical about your writing. It’s hard to keep your fingers moving when everything you write is complete dreck.

So let me make this perfectly clear: Good writing comes from hard work.

Yes, there will be moments of amazing insights, tremendous satisfaction and creative joy, but there will be more hard work than inspiration. And you can’t complete anything of significance if you’re willing to show up only when you’re guaranteed easy satisfaction and joy.

Even when you get one of the rare inspired, insightful and energized writing sessions, the next day will only be even harder because then you have expectations.

And yet we writers keep showing up. Maybe we’re crazy. Maybe we’re gluttons for punishment. Or maybe we’ve realized the painful, hard truth of Anais Nin:quote2

Or maybe we’ve found that not only is a writer, as Thomas Mann observes, “someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people,” but a writer is also someone for whom not writing is even more torturous than writing.

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5 Comments on “Writing Is Hard, Not Writing Is Harder”

  1. party de bureau Sherbrooke September 10, 2014 at 5:13 am #

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  2. Joel D Canfield April 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    I made the mistake of slowing down when my book was finished, and it’s been a long slog of a week, tending to other things instead of getting back to the next WIP.

    But I feel the aching burn to write. I can never put it off very long.


  3. rrltd April 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    Ok to forward to another writer I know?

    Thanks, Mary

    Mary Z. McGrath, PhD, CSMA Reflections Resources, Ltd. http://www.maryzmcgrath.com


    • rosannebane April 20, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

      Yes, of course you can forward to other writers, Mary.


  4. Catherine Brennan April 18, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    I appreciate your posts, even though I have yet to change my writing-only-email-and-things-replated-to-work habits. They give me hope. Thanks, Cathy


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