Over the weekend, a friend and I were sitting at the bar having a beer and he asked me if I had written anything lately. He knows I’m passionate about writing fiction, but I couldn’t remember the last time he ever asked me if I’d written anything “recently.”
Sadly enough, the answer was no.
Then I felt compelled to explain myself. I mean—why haven’t I written anything lately? It probably has to do with losing focus, being lazy, and being busy at work.
But the real answer is that writing sucks.
It’s True—Writing Sucks
Writing is daydreaming for hours to come up with something decent to write about. It might sound like a great idea or a terrible idea, but you won’t know until you sit down and start writing it all out. And that sucks because you’re going to have to work really hard for a really long time to maybe realize that what you’re writing isn’t any good.
Sure, occasionally the creative gods will give you a break and you’ll have an “aha” moment—a story will materialize our of thin air without any effort at all. It’s rare, but it does happen. The only story I’ve ever written that won anything came to me in two and a half hours and required very little work after that. Those two and a half hours netted me $300—not too shabby.
Writing sucks because, typically, you’re going to put in a lot of work and get very little back in return—if anything at all. You’ll sit there and write for hours and hours, pages and pages, and it might turn out that no one will ever read it. I sometimes have to write 25 pages to get five pages that are any good. I try consoling myself that all great writers have to produce shitty first drafts to eventually come up with something good, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
So Why Write at All?
My friend was looking at me laughing the whole time and ranting about all of this. He looks at me and says: “Why are you torturing yourself like this then? No one is making you write, no one is forcing you. Just stop doing it already.”
Ah, but here comes the part where I tell you why I love to write: you get to create something new out of thin air and you get to discover things about yourself you didn’t know before. Writing may be hard, but it’s one of the most rewarding things I can think of doing when it all goes right.
There’s a reason why everyone isn’t a writer—it’s hard (and there’s no money in it). But there’s a reason those of us that do keep on doing it: when you wind up creating something really good, there’s no better feeling in the world.