Who says writing is hard?

Forget all that stuff you’ve heard about how hard it is to write. Forget, too, everything you’ve heard comparing the act of writing to “sitting down at the keyboard and opening a vein.”

Absolutely not true. Pure bunkum.

The fact is, writing is a cakewalk. An adventure. A joyride.

No, if you love to write, it’s no problem filling up an empty screen with words. Lots and lots of words. We writers like nothing better than the opportunity to make a short story long. It’s what we do best.

Unwriting, now. That’s a different story.

It’s the unwriting part  — you know, where you have to convey the same amount of information in one-100th of the space, throwing out those beautifully crafted phrases you slaved over because they push you way over your word limit — that’s what takes so much effort.

Which is why it’s 4:32 a.m. and I’ve only just now finished sweating over a very short piece for a client.

The first 2,500 or so words were ridiculously easy. I was witty; I was eloquent; I was a boundless wellspring of wisdom that flowed freely from my fingertips.

Winnowing all of that down to 500 words or less? Not so much.



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4 responses to “Who says writing is hard?

  1. Linda Marker

    When I taught English at IUSB, I used to tell my students not to “marry” their words, hoping to illustrate that it would be hard to edit them. Then I came to realize that they didn’t understand my choice of words. One of them asked, “What’s so hard about getting unmarried?” 😦


  2. Lisa

    Applause. You managed–in only a few, excruciatingly well-chosen words– to explain one of the mysteries of good writing. It’s like the Tardis: bigger on the inside.


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