The Biggest Lie About Writing and What to do About It

Years ago I believed a lie about writing. Today you might believe that same wretched tale spun by Stephen King and other writers that reside on the level of master. This falsehood can dash the hopes of the beginner and cause those waist deep in their novels to give up.

What is this deceitful thought?

That writers are born.

Consider this sentence written to a publisher from someone considered to be one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century

It has lost my favor, and I have no idea what to do with it

Who was this writer? JRR Tolkien. What was he talking about? The Lord of the Rings, after working on it for months. He also said this after aching over chapter one:

It is difficult to find anything new in that world.

JRR Tolkien almost gave up on Frodo. Incredible, no?

Today, if you are dealing with writer’s block or stuck in the middle of your story don’t believe the lie that writers are born. Writing is hard. That is the true problem.

Our books are deep work yet must be born in the midst of life where we juggle our paying jobs, family, and writing dreams.

Often we have to dig to understand what is blocking our path. This might require journaling it out, discussing our struggle over coffee with a friend, or quiet reflection for an hour to get perspective and gain our bearings again.

Maybe you need to further invest in your creative energy so you have more to give when you show up to the page?

It might be time to work on another story for a week or two. It could be a busy time of year so you have to throttle back to two hundred words a day.

Whatever challenge is blocking you from a more fulfilling writer’s life, face it and then get creative. I am sure there is a way over it.

The quotations contained in this post were taken from a charming little book Tolkien: A Biography pages 210–211 by Humphrey Carpenter.

The lie I mentioned is from Stephen King’s book On Writing which I highly recommend. Except the lying bit of course.

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