“Writing Is Easy,” Says Nobody I Know
Writing is easy. And writing is hard, really hard.
I sound like I’m contradicting myself, but it’s true. Sometimes words flow and time whizzes past and, before you know it, three hours are gone and you have 3000 words. Other times you sit there for the same three hours and have a measly 400.
Some parts of writing are easy for some people, and some parts are hard.
I love first drafts and find them easier. I type fast, and I think through the story and characters when I’m not actually typing, so that when I sit down at the keyboard, the words come fast and usually fairly well.
Until they don’t. If I’m mired in the mud, I know now it’s because the plot has struck a glitch, or I have created one accidentally, or I simply don’t know what comes next (I’m not an outliner, not in the way some people are). I have to go away and think and diagram and doodle until I know the next part of the plot — loosely. Then I’m back to flow.
Rewriting is hard for me. This is when I lose faith in my words, wondering how, if they came so easily, why is making them better such a chore? Maybe I can’t write at all? Maybe my awful first drafts are destined to always be that way?
Improving my rewriting has become a core part of developing my craft. I always knew it needed work, but I had to study and persevere and give it all I had in order to get the hang of it. But it is still always a challenge, always the hardest part of writing.
And never let anyone tell you that rewriting is not writing. It is just as creative and inspired as you want it to be — and you do want it to be, trust me!
A writer friend of mine is the opposite. She hates first drafts and finds them incredibly hard. She’ll rewrite forever and ever, but truly wishes she could skip the first draft altogether (except then she’d have nothing to rewrite — right?). So for her, writing first drafts is hard. Rewriting, which she loves, is easy.
For you it might be different. You might find both stages hard. If you find both stages easy, maybe you’re not working deeply and strongly enough, especially at the revision stage.
One question to ask yourself is about deep point of view. Do you understand it? How to create it on the page? How much you need to understand your character and experience the world through their eyes? And how to learn to do it better?
Think about how you write, how you feel about writing, how you feel about rewriting. Write about this. Ask yourself these questions (and others about craft) on the page and then answer them. Explore yourself as a writer. Understand who you are, what works for you, where your weaknesses lie. Teach yourself what you need.