Part 5: Exactly What It Is That Makes Writing “Hard” – And How To Beat It
Are you a writer who just can’t get a regular writing routine established? Do you want to write, but struggle to find the time for it or to beat distractions? If you’re ready to write more frequently, but just don’t know how to make it happen, this 5-part series can help.
I’ll share with you the exact steps I’ve taken over the last year and a half to create a daily writing practice that helped me write a 98,000-word novel. No shortcuts, no outlandish schemes, nothing you can’t do around your busy day-to-day life.
Just practical, real tricks to finally turn your dream of writing into your daily reality.
The final installment in this series about establishing the writing routine of your dreams is all about what makes writing hard. Why is this important to this process? Well, the minute you fall into the “this is too difficult” trap, you’ll lose all the momentum you might’ve gained in your writing practice.
I want to dismantle the whole idea of writing being tough so when it DOES feel like too big a task to take on, you can get real with yourself quickly and not waste any time dwelling on that feeling of being stuck.
I’ve never met a writer who didn’t think that, at one point or another, writing was a difficult task. And there’s definitely no shortage of quotes about writing being torture. What’s the one often attributed to Hemingway? “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”
Here’s the reality, though: hard or easy, you have to do it. There’s no secret. I’ve got no magic formula to share with you (although I wish I did…) If you want a regular writing practice, if you want to get words on the page, if you have things to say – you just have to write, no matter your mood, no matter how it feels, and no matter the circumstances. That is the frustratingly simple secret.
Writing must be non-negotiable, even when it feels too hard. You’re not performing a life-saving surgery; you’re simply pulling words from your head. Words that are just for you until you decide they’re for others, if ever. Words you can later refine and polish until they’re as close to what you intended as possible. You’re not preventing an asteroid from destroying earth. You’re writing.
So why does writing feel hard sometimes? What exactly causes that sensation?
When we label something like writing or the creative process as “hard,” that’s often just code for “I’m not sure I’m good enough to do this.”
What’s hard is the story we tell ourselves, not the act of writing itself.
There’s usually a story playing in the background of your mind that makes it feel impossible to get started. That’s what causes you to hit the brakes before you’re even in motion.
The story in your head might be about not feeling good enough, or it might be about guilt (“I have too many other responsibilities in my life, I can’t waste time writing.”), or it might be about not trusting your ideas or your voice (“Who am I to tell this story? I won’t do it justice.”), or any other number of narratives. We’ve all got something, right?
What’s not hard: finding 5 minutes to write out a few sentences in a notebook.
What is hard: believing you’re worthy of those five minutes. Believing that you’re worthy of the words you write.
You’ve got to have a little bit of entitlement when it comes to this. And if you don’t genuinely have it yet, act like you do. It might be a fight against yourself, or a fight against the entire world conspiring against you – but either way, have at least a grain-of-rice-sized sense of worthiness and entitlement around your creative work. At least enough to allow yourself one word, one sentence a day, at minimum.
If you couldn’t already tell, I’m someone who thinks writing daily or just about daily is crucial. In my own experience, staying in touch with the story and with my own writing fed into itself. Writing begot more writing. Writing daily made it easier to write daily.
Maybe this sounds like nonsense, but I see it as momentum. And I can tell you, as someone who has spent long stretches painfully blocked from my writing because it felt too hard, I say it’s WELL worth the discomfort of getting started if the payoff is that the writing comes easily.
And it will come easily, that’s the trick. Once you understand why you have to write, once you take away the barriers to entry, once you believe you’re good enough… it’ll be easy. But you have to get started. Don’t spent another day wishing things were different. Get started now; give yourself a few minutes where you’re responsible to nothing else but a notebook and your creativity, and see how that starts to change your entire life.
What makes writing feel hard for you? Or better yet, what’s the hardest part about writing in your opinion? Share below!
If you found this helpful, share it with other writers who might need it too.
Don’t miss a thing! Check out part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here and of course, part 4 here.