On the difficulty of writing

I don’t know if you know this, but writing is freaking hard.

I mean, yeah, there are those days when the words flow easily and the plot aligns itself perfectly in your mind. But even after those days, there are these days.

Photo source

The days when you can barely write a coherent sentence about making toast, much less eloquently express a teenager’s angst; the days when the plot you so meticulously put together falls apart and you contemplate just killing off all your beloved characters; the days when nothing works and you’re ready to throw the whole thing away and start anew.

Because writing is hard. It takes guts, it takes dedication and it takes a certain amount of stubbornness.

And for some reason I’ve decided to completely wrap my life around writing. I mean, if it’s not the novels, it’s the poetry, and if not that, well, it’s the journalism. I don’t — I can’t — go a day without writing…even on the days when all I do is journal. I write, I write, and I write.

It gets frustrating on days when I feel like I’m just writing into a void. I’m writing articles that no one reads, books that aren’t published and blogs that barely get views.

I pour my heart and soul into perfecting a piece of literature, only for it to get rejected or, worse, barely looked at. I don’t understand why I keep doing what I’m doing.

Wouldn’t it be better to find a sensible career? Shouldn’t I rearrange my life to fit around a job at the bank or perhaps in mathematics? I mean, that is where the money is. And surely, surely, it can’t be as frustrating as trying to pull words out of a dried-out, tired brain.

I know what you’re thinking. It can be as frustrating. For some reason, in everything we do, the actions with the highest potential for greatness and joy have the highest level of frustration.

Let me say that again: with potential for great success comes great hardship.

It’s kind of the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. If you don’t pour yourself into your work, expending blood, sweat and tears, you’re not going to get much out of it.

That’s why I keep doing what I’m doing.

On the days when I couldn’t even tell you what toast is, much less describe making it, I want nothing more than to curl into a little ball and forget I ever dreamed of being a great writer, winning awards and changing lives.

But on the days when I have a novel breakthrough, a flash of inspiration for a poem or a great story to tell the community…man. Oh man.

Photo source. In the words of my literary hero…

It’s like doing drugs, only better, because it’s not illegal and you don’t kill your brain cells. Or your bank account.

It’s like when you’re riding a bike and you hit your stride, reach a nice downhill stretch and you just sort of float along in midair, the wind tangling your hair and waking up each individual cell in your cheeks.

It’s sitting up straighter, pulling your legs under you, cracking your knuckles and typing as fast as you can to get the words onto paper before they leave you forever. It’s pure adrenaline. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced.

Writing is hard. But it’s also so, so rewarding.

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