I had this moment yesterday afternoon. I was in my writing room. It was around 5:30pm. I had been writing off and on all day, immersed in one of my character's stories, tweaking events and conversations and I came up for air and had this thought, this simple thought that is very much true: Writing is hard.
And it is.
Not all writing is hard. This writing, for example, is not hard for me. It is light and freeing and fast.
But some writing is painfully, deeply hard. It is taxing and exhausting and confusing and consuming. My novel, for example. I have been working on it for years. And this has been something I've been sheepish to admit, that it's been taking me so long. I've seen this as a bad thing, as a sign of failure somehow. But now I feel quite differently about this.
I think the good stories, the rich stories that say something interesting and subtle and human and important, are hard to write. I believe this. I think it shouldn't be easy. I think easy is not the goal.
Maybe this is all self-rationalizing bull. It's entirely possible. But I really don't think so. I think that when we take the time and energy to really think, to really wrestle, to try and fail and try again, to write hundreds of pages and scrap them and dare to begin again, it means we care. It means we are invested. It means that there is passion. It means that real work is being done.
I'm telling myself this because, yes, it is hard.
And it will continue to be hard and I will find a way to celebrate this, to look around this beautiful room with birds on the wall and books absolutely everywhere and pages of effort strewn about, and I will think: I am doing something hard that matters to me and that in itself is worth something. A lot.
One of these days, I will finish this book and if the stars align, it will make its way out into the world and maybe you will read it. And if you do, I hope you love it of course, but I hope also that you can feel it, the energy, the honest and difficult work, the self, that went into its making.
Do you think writing is hard? Do you agree that sometimes difficulty can be a good thing?