Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Writing 101: No, It's Not Easy

I've made mention of the fact that I read a lot of forums and other blogs...and it's no secret that I am frequently frustrated by what I find there. But I've noticed a certain theme cropping up, again and again, to which I must (once more) take exception. There's an idea out there that writing books is easy, and it's really the promotion that's hard. I beg to differ on both accounts.


Anyone who's ever had writer's block knows that it isn't easy to write a book. Some have even said that it's something anyone can do.

That's wrong. Some people do not have the imagination to create a brand-new story out of whole cloth. Others haven't the vocabulary. And still more cannot write in a way that's comprehensive to others. Some people have great ideas for stories but never finish them, while others run out of ideas so they can't finish either. Writing a book takes a certain degree of stubbornness that just isn't present in 100 percent of the population. 

It also takes a great deal of time. It's much more fun to watch that TV show or go out to that party with your friends. It's much less fun to sit home on a Friday night behind a computer screen, but that's where you're going to find me. Some people don't want to make that sort of commitment, so they don't. 

And let's say you do want to take the time to write the thing. Now you've got to know about sentence structure, and formatting, and whether or not you should give your chapters titles. And let's not forget coming up with like, a thousand names for all the characters and places that are going to appear in the book. It's bloody hard work, is what it is, and lots of people aren't willing to put that much work into something that always starts out as a hobby. 

So no, writing isn't easy. You have to research and you have to study. You have to imagine and you have to create. You have to stay motivated to stay with it, and you have to make it all run together smoothly. And then you've got to edit the darned thing, which is miserable and tedious and practically neverending (and I'm just trying to make it sound good).

Promotion isn't hard, and I know because I manage to get that done on a daily basis. What don't I do on a daily basis? Work on my new book. Because sometimes the mood isn't right or the time isn't, or maybe I'm stuck on a scene and I'm not done thinking about it. Promotion is writing tweets and blogging and interacting, and it's a whole lot easier than sweating over whether or not the title character should slap the guy or kiss him back. I find it a lot easier to tweet about the show I'm watching than to sit and stare at my outline for the fiftieth time this week. And sometimes, marketing is mercurial. Sometimes it doesn't work and you don't know why. Sometimes you screw up and people notice. Sometimes you forget, and you notice a change in sales. There are a ton of things that can go wrong. 

It's not ever easy, and it isn't going to be easy. Even if you get that big book deal and all those fans, it's going to be hard because now you have something to live up to. There's going to be more work because you have to answer letters and answer to other people. So when you see someone say that it's easy to write a book, they're wrong. It's not easy, and it certainly isn't supposed to be easy. The harder it is to write, the better the book.

So you keep sweating over the keyboard...not what the other authors are saying about writing.

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  1. Who says writing is easy?? Yikes. I've been working on a first draft for over two years. Life gets in the way, work, and writer's block, of course. Sometimes it feels like it will never end. No, it's definitely not easy.

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