What goes into writing, really?

Okay, so heads up—this is going to be a somewhat personal (read: not professional-professional) post… Run now while you can!

What goes into writing? What goes into writing a book?

TV shows, movies etc make it seem so easy, making the writing process seem like an easy, smooth stream of click-clackity typing elegantly churning out line after line of polished prose.

Of course we all know that doesn’t happen in real life.

What happens in real life can mostly, I think, be encapsulated in three scenarios.

1.The Thousand Yard Stare Scenario

You’re in your favourite writing spot, Word (or Pages) document open, with that clean, blank, white page staring at you. You stare back. Intensely. And then somewhat dreamily. And… nothing happens. You’ve got the idea/plot/outline in your head, but the blinking typing cursor (yup, that’s what it’s called—legit) seems to have sapped you of your writing prowess.

2. The Type and Walk Away… And Return, and Walk Away… Scenario

Okay, so this one’s the one where you actually get some words written/typed, but everything else in the world seems more interesting. Like the cat grooming itself. Or that biscuit you left on the kitchen counter for tea time (which certainly isn’t supposed to happen now). Or the laundry that you suddenly remember needs doing. So you end up walking away—for hours, sometimes—come back to your work, and realise you’ve kinda forgotten what you were writing. And then it comes back to you, you write a couple more sentences, and then you wonder what’s happening on Facebook, and then…

3. The Type/Write-Delete-Repeat Scenario

You’ve got it figured out in your head, you start writing/typing, and then realise it’s reads like absolutely garbage, you aggressively hit the ‘delete’ button (or angrily crush up the piece of paper you’ve been writing on), and then you try again.

Chances are the writing’s not as bad as you think it is. And sometimes we just need to get words down on paper, and then work on revising it after that.

Don’t be disheartened (I know, it’s easy for me to say, even though I know how soul-crushing the writing process can be)—just keep pressing away at it, and remember that Real Writers Revise. Get an editor to look over your writing. Or take a few weeks’ break from your work, then come back and read it with fresh eyes.

The writing process isn’t as romantic as it’s portrayed in the media (and social media), but art is born out of hard places.


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