About the Post

Author Information

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.

The Great Truth Every Writer Needs to Know


man starring at cosmos
©Greg/Goodfreephotos

Sometimes writing is pure bliss. You get into the flow. You know exactly what to write without thinking about it. The words come to you without effort or hesitation.

You know it’s too soon to tell, but you’re pretty damn sure this is some of the best writing you’ve ever done.

On the other hand, sometimes, maybe even most times, writing is pure struggle.

Simple Truth: Writing Is Hard

Even when writing is bliss, it’s a hard-won bliss.

Writing in flow comes only after doing a good deal of prep work. It usually comes from the willingness to make mistakes and learn from them.

And in the end, it requires what can be the most challenging step of all: surrendering to your frustration.

(Read more about the brain science behind this.)

The Great Truth: Hard Doesn’t Matter

When we accept that writing is hard and stop expecting it to be easy, it gets easier. At least it gets easier to do the hard work. But only as long as you don’t expect it to be easy.

Thinking writing should be easy, even some of the time, makes writing harder all the time.

Because if writing is easy, then what the h*** is wrong with you? Why is it so hard for you to get and keep your butt in the chair? Why aren’t you writing a book in a month?

What’s So Great About this Truth?

Many years ago, I read something in M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled that has resonated for me my entire life.

Gifts of Acceptance

Knowing writing is hard won’t guarantee you’ll never question yourself as a a writer or fret over the imperfection of your writing. It does mean you’ll remember to ignore those worries.

The draft isn’t perfect? So what? It’s not supposed to be perfect; that would be too easy.

You’re not certain what your next step should be? You worry that you might make mistakes and waste time? So what? Creativity is never efficient. You can’t be creative without making mistakes; not because that would be too easy, but because it is simply not possible.

You wrestle to get to your writing space and stay focused? So what? No writer floats into effortless, blissful concentration to craft timeless work every day. That would be too easy.

Humans take the everyday for granted; if flawless writing in the flow was common, we wouldn’t call it bliss.

Tags: , , , , ,

8 Comments on “The Great Truth Every Writer Needs to Know”

  1. Sharon April 19, 2021 at 2:40 pm #

    Hi Rosanne,
    Thanks for reconfirming how I feel about writing. I needed that! The hard work it takes to write will never stop me but, oh, when I hear some writer’s say how much fun they have writing…well, you know.
    Wonderful to see you back here again. You’ve been missed!

    Like

    • rosannebane April 19, 2021 at 3:59 pm #

      Thanks Sharon for welcoming me back to my blog – it’s been a strange year in so many ways…
      Yes, I get it. Writing isn’t always rainbows and unicorns (even for fantasy writers) and thinking it’s supposed to be or is that for other writers can be demoralizing. Knowing other writers wrestle gives us permission and role modeling for our own wrestling matches…

      Like

  2. kperrymn April 16, 2021 at 11:37 am #

    I am always so glad to see your blog in my inbox. Thanks for this reminder. We do take a lot for granted. It helps to remember that it takes a lot to get to the blissful moments in writing, to feel the flow. But when it happens, it makes all the work worthwhile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rosannebane April 16, 2021 at 5:44 pm #

      Hi Katie,
      Thanks for your comment – your responses to my posts are such wonderful rewards.
      Wishing you bliss and the satisfaction of knowing every time you show up, you’re one day closer to the next bliss moment.

      Like

  3. Anonymous April 16, 2021 at 10:26 am #

    Thank you. I’m into what I thought would be the final draft of a new book, and only minutes before breaking for lunch and reading your post, I slumped when I saw that the final draft is likely to be one or two more down the road. Thanks again, and good luck to everyone with their various projects.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rosannebane April 16, 2021 at 5:40 pm #

      You’re welcome. It can be disappointing to realize you’re not as close to finished as you thought. On the up side, you recognized this without rejections from agents or editors.
      Remember, you’ve come this far, you have what you need to keep going!
      Rosanne

      Like

  4. Bruce in Louisville April 16, 2021 at 9:57 am #

    Thank you! Got this just at the right time. Helps me remember both why I do this, and why I sometimes look for a way out. 🙂

    (Side note: I read most of my email in the preview pane, and don’t turn on images. So, anything in an image I miss. You might consider putting the text in the image into an ALT tag for those of us who only read the words. Thanks!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • rosannebane April 16, 2021 at 5:37 pm #

      Hi Bruce,
      I’m glad to hear this showed up at the right time for you.
      Thanks for the tip. I’ll be sure to include alt text in the future.
      The quote from M. Scott Peck’s “The Road Less Traveled” is:
      “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

      Like

Leave a Reply to Sharon Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: