You know what irks me?
When writers make it look so darn EASY.
You know the type. You’re watching an interview with a favorite author, or you’re reading their blog, and they’re going on and on about how they write. They’re all, “Oh, yeah, I was sitting in my room and suddenly this idea came to me. It was like the story just sprung fully formed out of my brain and onto the page. Like Athena. Sometimes I couldn’t stay away from the computer! And the characters are like my BFF’S. And blah blah blah SUCH AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE blah blah blah.”**
If there is one thing- one thing, mind you- that being an amateur writer has taught me, it is that THIS IS NOT NATURAL. Being a writer is hard. It is nitty-gritty, up-in-your-face, pounding-your-head-against-the-monitor hard. It involves blood, sweat, and tears (but mostly blood). Characters do not normally spring into your head like some origin story gone wrong. The story takes weeks to work out and tons of tweaking. Unless you are an alien or a cyborg, you are not likely to get an idea that is ready to go from the first conception.
Writing is not simple. Even once you have cleared the barbed wire of the first draft, there is still the land-mined field of editing, where your story gets blown to smithereens and then put back together again. There will be times throughout the whole process where you will want nothing more than to take your fingers off the keys and back away slowly. You will want to give up. But you keep going because THIS IS WHAT YOU SIGNED UP FOR.
Oh, and this thing about characters being awesome people who magically get along with you? They’re not. Characters will do things you don’t want them to do, or they’ll refuse to do things that will further the story. Characters will get you stuck. In terms of plot, they will turn on you eventually.
Eventually, yes, it’s worth it. In the end you get a beautiful book with your name on the cover. But that doesn’t mean we should make it sound easier than it is to write. Sometimes it seems like published authors have everything figured out, that they know exactly how to write a story STRESS-FREE. And I know for a fact that this is not true.
There are two morals to this rampaging monster-child of a post:
One, don’t beat yourself up when something goes wrong. It’s part of the process. You probably knew that already, though.
Two, WE’RE ONTO YOU, AUTHORS. You cannot hide your hardships from us!
*Wow, that title makes it seem way more serious than this post actually is. Funny how that works.
**Please note that I am not singling out any particular writer. This is a purely hypothetical situation based on a lifetime of authorial experiences blown to cosmic proportions. That being said, I hope you enjoyed it. Disclaimer over.