The Difficulty of Writing…

Shower thought: Fuck!!! Its a good thing I don’t live on royalties from my pathetic book sales. My family and I would get one gigantic feast a year. Or a one off weekend escape budgeting at the Motel 6. I’m not saying my writing sucks, in fact its not bad, its the genre that can suck for a specific writer. Memoir is only sellable if your either famous or you escaped getting your head cut off by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately this is not my story. My story is boring in comparison. It involves religion and last time I checked religion is a discussion that is losing traction. So if you are going to write a book or two my advice would be fantasy or romance. The more unbelievable the better. If your story sells enough copies you might be the next JK Rowling or a writer googling how to get rid of a body in 24 hours while typing in your underwear at 10 oclock on a Tuesday morning.

I’m the writer clocking in at 9 and going home at 5. Complaining about the time you don’t have to write while bagging someone else’s groceries. Or thinking about your protagonist impregnating the baby sitter. Or the antagonist agonizingly killing off the nicest guy in your story. I know sounds rather depressing and anticlimactic but there’s got to be thousands of writers who relate.

Pick a better genre and belt out a narrative that’ll knock their socks off… Easy right!!! Wrong. I think writing is the toughest job in the world. It requires long periods of solitary confinement, no slaps on the back for a great job, and a certain level of dangerous optimism. Your critics will almost always be non-writers. It could be a decade or two before any positive feedback lands in your ears. Its a gut check profession. Those who have stared long enough at a blank screen no exactly what I am talking about.

Why does anyone want to write? Why would anyone pick this as a profession? It must be the career for those who love pain and suffering. I know you love words, I love them too… its what got me into this mess, the mess of writing. The paradoxical world of expressing oneself through the written form. Sounds simple, its not. Writing is like other art forms, creatively bent so the person experiencing what you have created is the one who gets lost or found.

Not getting art is what I always thought art was. Looking at a form or a shape trying to figure out what they mean. Then there’s writing… Put a word here and another there and read it outloud and see how it all comes out. Practical but actually its anything but. Talk to a writer and they will tell you how much they love writing, their love of books, and well; reading books. Writers are strange human beings, unorthodox to a fault and have known to be neurotic.

Emotional and self-deprecating, compulsive and hungry for an invisible muse to show up in the middle of the night. Shining a bright light on a story no one has written. Wildly imaginative, strangely emotional, bordering on depression where your partner is no longer sure if you are living your story or writing the story. Narratives spinning around in your head while running, shopping, showering, cooking, golfing, fishing, gardening and walking, preferably on the beach.

The writer is a confused, messy, emotional sucker for pain and anguish. If your not feeling the agony from living you can’t write about it. The Oscar winning musical genius Hans Zimmer had this to say about suffering…

After all these years, I have come to realise that I must go through a period of agony and torture before I have a breakthrough.”

It is in the depths of suffering the artist must draw his/her strength and creativity from. The deeper the reservoir in which to pull our agony the greater the potential breakthrough.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

— Scott Adams

As a writer making mistakes is easy knowing what to keep is the tough bit. Words and more words and placing them in the right spot or the right order is what we do. It sounds simple and many think it is. But creating a piece flowing effortless and simple for the reader is really hard. Which reminds me why we keep practicing because it is the only way we get better. The only way to grow an audience and give the reader exactly what they have been looking for.

C.S. Lewis “We read to know we are not alone.”

And this is why we all fell in love with books and the difficult task of writing…