Writing Doesn’t Have to Come Naturally

Sometimes it seems like writing comes so much more naturally to everyone else. I mean, Brandon Sanderson can sit and write for 8-10 hours a day and I’m over here trying to keep myself from thinking about the ice cream in the freezer so I don’t get out of my seat for the seventh million time in ten minutes.

After the year and a half it’s taken me to finish the four drafts of my WIP, I feel like I’ve been hunted by the nine riders, stalked by a schizophrenic mole-looking creature who only knows one word (precious), and carried an all-powerful ring that will only make you go stark-raving mad if you hang on to it for too long.  In other words; finishing a book is like traveling to Mordor and back.

(This is me when I finally finish a story.  Yes, the rigors of writing leave your face smeared with dirt and scattered with scratches.  You didn’t know that?)

But before I can celebrate my hard-one victory, I realize that Brandon Sanderson’s book totaled 1,087 pages.  Talk about wanting to crumple up my 419 pages and throw them into the fires of Mordor.

I think I’ll get that ice cream now and eat the whole carton.

That’s it.  I should give up writing.  Let’s face it; Writing is harder for me than everyone else. Some days it takes me an hour to come up with a hundred words because I’m like Kronk in Emperors New Groove.

Okay, okay.  I shouldn’t compare myself to other writers. There’s a lot of talent out there, but that doesn’t make me less talented. Besides, every word I do write is a drop in the vast amount of practice needed to be a successful writer. It’s alright if writing is hard. It isn’t supposed to be easy.  Like Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 

That’s not painful at all.

Writing is a challenge, and it’s okay to admit that to yourself. You may think that you’re the only one struggling with it, but guess what?

You aren’t.

Want to know a secret? (Okay, well it’s not exactly a secret, but act surprised anyway). It took Sanderson twelve novels before he was published. Twelve of them! What was wrong with the guy? Didn’t he realize that writing was too hard for him?

No, he didn’t. Because it wasn’t. Writing is a process that gets better with time. The more you write, the better you get.

What would have happened if he’d given up after that 12th novel? We wouldn’t have impossibly long books to read, that’s what!

huge book Brandon Sanderson book

(An actual Sanderson novel)

I’m sure sometimes he thought, “This writing thing is so much harder for me than everyone else,” but he didn’t let that stop him. And because he kept going, he is now a best-selling author with more than 20 books and novellas published. The guy is so popular, that his signings can last up to five hours!  (He needs someone to build him a robot arm that can sign things for him. I mean, he probably has to wear a cast after all that).

The next time that you think writing is only difficult for you, be glad that you aren’t Sanderson in an arm cast.

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6 thoughts on “Writing Doesn’t Have to Come Naturally”

  1. Having taught writing to folk who would rather do anything but, I’d like to say that YOU ARE RIGHT. Writing is a process and one that does not come naturally or automatically (Edgar Cayce notwithstanding). As it is a discipline, practice is required and how about some training. Some might have an innate ability with words, a sense of rhythm and so forth. Most of us, however, simply need to write and write some more and then some more. Then have ice cream. So well-said, Megan!–Christopher

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there might be a few out there who seemed to be born with the ability to write well, but most of us aren’t that lucky. 😀
      Like you said, sometimes we have some gifting in a certain area of writing, but that doesn’t excuse us from the need to practice and keep learning.
      And ice cream always helps! 🙂
      Oh by the way, I just got my short story back from my editor, so it won’t be long now until it’s ready for you.

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  2. The drive, the urge, the compulsion. The refusal, no, I’m not going to write. Followed by the pacing, the trying to find something else, the opening scenes composed in the head, the plotting … no, it can’t be resisted. Hard work. Yes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like my writing sessions! There’s always that spark, the idea, that gets you excited to start. But after that, it can become quite a struggle.
      Of course, there are always those scenes that flow from your fingers and before you know it, you’ve written 3,000 words. Those are the scenes I live for. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With me, there’s a sense of accomplishment. I’m going to do it. Every day. No matter how repetitive. And edits sure are repetitive. I mean, how many times have I read it now. I can’t possibly improve it now. Yet ,,, one more time.
        I’m at that stage.

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  3. It IS hard to write and for me… finish. I have a few WIP that lost steam because it is HARD writing a book. But the more you write the better you become. That really is true. I’ve gotten better at writing short stories in the sense that I can (see) plot issues and correct them. This experience will help on bigger projects. Brandon is an inspiration. I’m glad he continued writing. He has a podcast I listen to weekly which also helps. Thanks for providing a positive perspective on HARD writing. Brandon and you Megan encourage us to keep on writing.

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