Being a “writer” for most of my life, and an author for about ten years, I’ve come to realize that I’ve been hiding a shameful secret. I’ve talked to many authors over the years and from what I have gathered, my secret goes against almost everything other authors stand for and believe in. Yet, no matter how hard I try, I can’t get out from under this… thing.
What’s my secret? Well, at the risk of dragging out the suspense by saying I’m not going to drag out the suspense like those click-bait articles that force you to click through dozens of pages just to get to the thing they promised, and it’s never quite the reveal they said it would be, I’ll tell you. Are you ready?
I hate writing.
Go ahead. Ban me. Block me. Unsubscribe from my email list (though if you’re not subscribed, please scroll down and do that first). I get it. Authors are supposed to love writing. We write for the joy of it. The story is in us and we have to get it out. It doesn’t matter who reads it. Sure we want an audience, but readers or not, dammit, we’re gonna write and tell the stories we want to tell. And if no one likes them, so be it.
“Real” authors love writing
Authors love to write. Am I right?
Except me, I guess. The more I write the more I hate it.
I wasn’t always this way. In my early writing days, I loved it. Though it was all digital marketing writing. I could bust out a blog post a day just spouting off what I knew. It was easy and fun.
My love for writing left me when I started writing fiction. Telling a made-up story doesn’t come from my knowledge, it comes from my imagination. And while I consider myself an imaginative person, writing an imaginative story is a lot harder than simply imagining the idea of it. I have ideas galore.
And, for those who don’t know, writing a great, compelling story is a lot more than just having a great, compelling story. There are rules to writing. Rules to turning your great, compelling story idea into a story that people want to read and enjoy. Some of those rules are arbitrary, but most are there because it’s what the audience expects. If you violate the rules, you risk alienating the very people you want to read your story.
Writing fiction is haaaaard.
I never truly understood how hard writing fiction was until I started writing fiction. And then editing, and re-editing. Passive voice, weak verbs, dull language. Apparently, I write those things as naturally as breathing. I have to train myself to weed all that crap out.
And don’t get me started on writing emotion, plot, or compelling dialogue. Or how to make each chapter reveal more about the characters AND move the plot forward.
Writing exhausts me. It is physically draining and I find ways to avoid it. I procrastinate. I started my second novel over a year ago, got 10k words in, and stopped. Other things came up that were more “important”. A website to build, a novel to edit, agents to pitch. Frankly, I’m running out of other things to do and will have no choice but to start working on it again.
And I DO want to work on it, but the thought of sitting down and forcing the imagination onto the page is just daunting.
So why do I write?
That’s easy. I may hate the process but I love the result. It’s true, I do. All the drudgery of writing a story produces a result that I am excited about. It’s like going to Disneyland. I don’t enjoy the 15-hour drive with a car full of cranky kids, but being there is just awesome. And (usually) makes the drive worth it.
So as long as I like the result (and my readers agree), I’ll keep writing. I’ll drudge through the writing and editing process because I’m very happy with what I produce. As imperfect as it is.
What about you? What’s your dirty little secret?