Writing is Easy. Yes, Really.

Aug. 23rd 2011

Okay, so this isn’t an original concept. Many smart writers like Zoe Winters and Dean Wesley Smith came to this conclusion before I did.

But it’s true: writing is easy.

For many of you writers out there (and even you readers), you’re probably thinking I’m nuts, since it goes against everything we’ve been told. That’s the thing: we — well, I, at least — never questioned the statement “writing is hard,” a statement that I encountered sometime when I was a kid and bolstered in high school, college, and most certainly by many scribes and graduate school programs.

I started to question the statement when, over the last year or so, I began feeling that writing had gotten a whole lot easier. And then I started listening to some of the whisperings of some successful writers who were willing to come clean and reveal, “Yeah, writing isn’t hard.”

If you love doing it and you have any sort of talent for it, well, it will feel pretty easy and straight forward 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent goes like this: 5 percent is fear (usually unfounded) that you bring to the table. The other 5 percent involves actual legitimate challenges — a story that isn’t working, some research issue that’s turned into a pain in the ass, things like that.

I’m not saying there aren’t hard moments — there are — but I do believe that writing is easy. Even revising. Especially once you’ve gotten through a whole book and seen it to the very end. I’ll admit you might have a little extra dose of “hard stuff” during that first book, but I’d be willing to bet — simply because I’ve been there — that much of it you bring on yourself because you’re thinking “Gee, this is supposed to be hard.” So you make it hard. Forgotten April shouldn’t have taken me as long as it did, but I got caught up in the myth.

Think about many of the classic “greats.” Many — William Carlos Williams comes to mind for some reason — worked day jobs. The writing they did was in stolen moments here and there, yet they were able to create brilliant work. Brilliance doesn’t need weeks and months and years to occur. Sometimes our most brilliant ideas happen in the most unlikely places, like the shower (Einstein thought so). The brilliance happens easily, and it’s available to all of us.

I’m not saying writing doesn’t take work. Of course it does. Putting together a 100,000-word novel doesn’t happen overnight. It takes commitment and diligence. Now, those things may be hard, at first (although if you tell yourself commitment to a deadline is easy, I bet it will be). But the writing part isn’t hard. (If writers are being honest with themselves, they’d probably agree…once you sit down and you’re “in it,” it comes easily because that’s what you love to do.)

I know plenty of writers out there will read this and dismiss my theory right away. All I can say is this: before you do so, consider it. What if I’m right? What if writing is easy and we’d been told a lie all this time?

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Posted by Robyn | in Creative Writing, Writing | 2 Comments »