Writing Is Hard and Messy and Worth It19:00
Writing is a strange occupation. The moment we need to write, our brains instantly push us to go and do something else: post on Twitter, wash the dishes, walk the dog, create an elaborate five tiered tiramisu cake. Any, as long as it isn’t writing. And yet, the feeling of having written is one of the best. Often, we write just for the feeling of having written afterwards. But writing itself, that’s a terribly hard thing. Motivation doesn’t come easily, inspiration strikes rarely, and even the act of forcing yourself to sit down and push out a couple of words can be agony.
Sometimes I wonder why I do it.
Writing isn’t sitting in front of a desk for eight hours and pouring out ink from your soul. It isn’t days of slipping out of bed to catch the muse, armed with a latte and a fresh bagel. It’s not sitting in the sunshine with a mug of tea, brewing the perfect plot twist and soaking in the inspiration. And it’s very rarely writing through your meals because you’re so inspired that you can’t possibly stop until you’ve got all the words down.
Writing is hard. It’s messy. It’s days of forcing yourself to the desk when you don’t feel like it. It’s snatching moments between other things to crunch out a few words. It’s weeks of emptiness, where the words aren’t coming, dark nights of doubting your own abilities, staring at your book and seeing the flaws and hating yourself because no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t match up to what you want it to be.
So why do we keep putting ourselves through this? Why keep forcing yourself to eke out another few words when all you want to do is burn the whole thing and take up beekeeping? Why hasn’t this strange beast that is the life of a writer scared us to our senses yet? What is it about writing that keeps us coming back every day, asking for more punishment, bloodied and bruised still from our last round in the ring?
Because we can’t not.
We were born with stories in our souls. There are words inside us that need to come out. It doesn’t matter whether anyone will read them or not. It doesn’t even matter if we ever read them again. But we can’t do anything but show up to write them down. When we step away from writing, it’s only a matter of time before we have to come back, have to write down the words and empty the stories out of our minds. I read this great quote today which sums us up perfectly.
“A writer is not a person who writes, it’s someone who can’t not write.”Catherine Deveny
Writing is hard. It’s messy. It hurts sometimes. It’s riddled with self-doubt. But it’s amazing. Because writing isn’t about the difficulties. It’s about what you make, what you do. The hardships are just steps on the road. Think of how good you feel after you’ve written. Imagine what it’s like to finish something. Remember those times when the writing did come smoothly. Envision a piece of writing you were proud of. We might be teachers, artists, doctors, anything. But we are also writers. It doesn’t matter how hard the writing is. We show up anyway. Because this is what we do. How could we do anything else?