Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This is the hard part


I used to think the hard part about writing was when you sat down to write.

I used to think that the hard part was getting up the courage to send query letters.

I used to think the hard part was revising a novel after you got nailed with form rejection letters (or worse, Silence).

I used to think the hard part was carefully listening to the feedback people gave you without becoming a defensive monster of rage.

I used to think waiting was the hard part.

I used to think the soul crushing self-doubt was the hard part.

Now I know that the real hard part about writing is whatever you’re doing right now. It’s all hard. Some of it is harder for some people (I am not a revising fan, for instance), and some of it is easy (courage enough to send my work into the world? Probably not an issue for me—keeping me from sharing has always been the hard part). It’s all hard. This moment is hard, but since we live through it, we start to think, “Oh, querying wasn’t that hard compared to this new hell I’m in: submission!” Or “I used to think writing a rough draft was hard, until my editor/beta reader/wonderful mother who reads all the time suggested that I take out my favorite scene.”

It’s this moment that is hard. Writing is hard. Every second of it is hard. Some parts are more fun than others, but none of it is easy.

But why, Rena, Why is it so hard? I love it so much, and it makes me want to pull my hair out!

I’ll tell you.

It’s not a secret after all.

Writing is hard because it is the greatest thing ever. It is more powerful than any other form of communication (doubt me, read the Hunger Games then go watch the movie; I cried more for Roo's death than the whole movie--though I did enjoy the movie tremendously). It is hard because everyone wants to do it. If it weren’t so hard, you’d never be able to find a good book because—literally!—everyone would do it. If you doubt me, go into any public place and ask if anyone has an idea for a book they'd like to write.

I’m not joking. Writing is hard because it is the greatest pursuit in the world.

And, yeah, I know people are rolling their eyes at me (I mean, shoot, isn’t Halo the most important pursuit in the world?), but it’s true. Writing is hard because otherwise, it’s just words.

Now get back out there and write. This is the hard part, but you can do it.

18 comments:

  1. This is so true. It's all hard, but thank goodness the rewards are huge! The satisfaction that comes with completing each step along the way is pretty darn great.

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    1. Oh, that feeling when you write "The End"? The best! Or when you give the manuscript to someone and they say it's awesome? Heaven on Earth.

      and the feeling of accomplishment when you hold that giant manuscript in hand is incredible.

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  2. I am sort of amused that I've never read a post like this before when it's so obviously true! Like Rachel said, the satisfaction of overcoming each new hard part makes it all worthwhile!

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    1. Well, it's funny because I was starting to notice how much I sounded like a broken record every time I'd get to a new step. But yes, Rachel is so right. The satisfaction of getting her is definitely worth it.

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  3. You're so right. I sometimes think it is like an addiction. No matter how much frustration it gives me, I keep going back. And you think...when it's published I'll feel better. But I didn't. I waited on pins and needles for the reviews. Reviews were decent and now I obsess over sales. But when I start to complain, I stop myself. I am doing what I love. And that makes me the luckiest chick in the world!

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    1. Oh yeah. I keep thinking to myself that all of this doubt and need for validation will go away when I publish. Nope! I think we go through such a long period of hoping for validation so we can learn how to cope with it before everyone is watching. And yeah, I couldn't quite writing if I tried.

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  4. I love this post. I'm in the middle of a hard part at the moment, my first draft - still. I have a feeling I'll be here for some time. One hard part at a time!

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    1. You know, I saw a really good Chuck Wendig post about this. Let me see if I can find... here, but be warned, papa Chuck uses bad words all the time (and it's hilarious).

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  5. Truth. All of it. ^_^ But something I keep re-learning is that the only way to get past whatever hard part you're working on (yes, like you said, all of them) is to just sit down and do it. I've spent my writing time yesterday and today doing more queries and adding a bit to a scene, and I was all kinds of unsure about both of those. But when I finished them, it felt like, "Yeah, I can do this. I'm actually good at this. Someday, I'll make it."

    And I never realized writing really is the greatest thing in the world until now. Thanks, I needed to know that. ^_^

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    1. Yeah, the just keep moving forward thing is really hard to nail down (Thanks Walt!), but it really is the best advice. And seriously, go check out Chuck Wendig's post (link is in the reply to Annalisa), that man can make you feel like going to write.

      And yes, writing really is the greatest thing in the world.

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  6. exactly. extracting myself from internet temptation is a very hard part!

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    1. OMG CUTE KITTENS!!!! In fact, cute kittens are death to my productivity... unless it's the kittens from Written?Kitten! which rewards set word limits with a cute kitty!

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  7. I had another friend tell me this exact same thing. She told me that I string words together and create something. Not everyone can do that (and a whole lot of people try!). People who don't understand how hard it really is, aren't doing it right (or listening to critiques).

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    1. Yes! yes, exactly. I cannot tell you how many times I thought this writing this was easy... and then I learned better. I would wax poetic by the moonlight when I was 12, but nowadays (not that moonlight isn't awesome), I know what good writing is (and for the record, just like surfing, if you're waxing it, you're not doing it).

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  8. I agree with each word of this post. It is Hard, but we writers can't help it, so we try any way.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Oh, I know, writing is a disease. Hold on, the I'd quit if I could just reminded me of a FANTASTIC video if you want some awesome artistic advice, go here and pay attention. This applies to writers just as much as painters. Fantastic advice, especially about the quitting (mostly because writers Just. Can't. Quit. We would have if we could have).

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  9. I really needed to read this right now. Thank you. Revision is really hard! Knowing when to stop revising will be harder ...
    *groan*
    It will be worth it someday. :)

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    1. Revising is such a terrible pit of vipers. Was it better before? Should I cut out this scene? Do I need another scene to make my subplot that's actually the main plot but no one knows it yet more apparent?

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