Corrie Ann Gray
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Writing Isn’t As Hard As You Think

Writing is hard. At least that’s what you hear when you suggest that you want to be a writer. You can even find quotes from famous writers about how difficult the act of writing is. I can’t agree with that statement – the one about writing being hard. You see, it’s not for me. It has never been an activity that I found troublesome. Maybe I’m unique, but I don’t think so. There have got to be others out there who don’t see writing as a difficult task.

I started writing on a fairly regular basis when I was 12. My grandparents gave me a locking diary into which I would pour my heart. My writing journey, however, started even earlier. I was almost four when cancer invaded the body of my biological father. To make the most of his remaining days, my parents sold the house and the business, purchased a Ford utility truck/camper and a 22-foot travel trailer, and off we went on a family road trip. My oldest sister has already flown the coup, so there was me, mom, dad and three sisters (I am the second to the youngest).

We traveled throughout the western states and my mom (an ex-teacher) homeschooled my two older sisters (this was long before homeschooling was the thing to do). Everywhere we went (of significance) their homework assignment involved some sort of writing. Even though I couldn’t write yet, I would take along a small notebook and pencil and pretend I was taking notes about what I was seeing. I would look up at something and then jam my head down into my notebook, vigorously scribbling lines across the page. I have a photo of me doing this somewhere in our packed things.

The writing bug continued when I officially started school. I don’t recall doing this, but I created my first “book” when I was in first grade. I meticulously bound the hand-written pages between two pieces of cardboard and tied the spine together with red hair ribbons. I found this treasure as an adult on one of those occasions when my mom and I went through her cedar chest to see what she had kept over the years.

The writing bug infected me to the core. I had to write. It was (and is) like breathing to me.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Ernest Hemingway

When I started an MFA program in creative writing, I finally realized from whence the “writing is hard” idea came. It’s not the act of writing that is hard. Anyone with a primary education can do it. The hard part is the rewriting and editing – holy moly, is it hard. I never significantly rewrote my writing until the last year of my undergraduate work. Before that time I wrote a paper a day or two before it was due and handed it in. Finito! My senior thesis was the first time I rewrote and edited an entire document, and that was only because I was forced to by my academic advisor – and I had to prove it to her by turning in several versions. Talk about torture.

There was also the novelist (visiting lecturer) who told me that “you must rewrite a story at least ten times before it is ready for publication.”  What?! Ten times! I can’t rewrite something ten times! At least I didn’t think so at the time.

The editing process is gut-wrenching work. You write your “little darlings” on the page and then you must hack them to pieces, trying to find a better, more suitable way to convey the message. It’s dreadful. The act of creating sentences that mean something, inspire others, teach an idea, share an experience, or create a mood, not THAT’s the hard part of writing.

Another hard part of writing is convincing someone, usually a complete stranger, to represent or publish your work or to make a movie out of your scenes and sentences. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. That shit is hard, especially when you’re an introvert (I think most writers are) and you only want to stay huddled up in your writing den crafting your art.

So, the act of writing is the easy part. It’s all the rewriting, editing, revising, convincing, deleting, scrapping, and redoing that is so difficult. Go out there and write – the only way to make the other pieces easier is to do them over and over – and over again.

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About the Author Corrie Ann

Corrie Ann Gray is a writer, philosopher, coach, wellness advocate and cookie creator. She is also known as The Renaissance Soul Writer and is the founder and director of the Clean Body Project, where she inspires individuals to live a holistically purpose-filled life.

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Leave a Comment:

Garin says March 9, 2018

I guess I’m lucky or maybe messed up in the head, maybe both 🙂 but I don’t mind editing and rewriting at all. To me, it’s more writing and I never tire of it. I’ve always loved writing but as a kid, I didn’t always put my best foot forward. If it was a topic I liked and/or got to choose then I was in heaven. If it was something I had little to no interest in, I did it, but you can tell it was a chore. Last month I’ve found myself falling back into that although not as bad. My biggest complaint is for a school that prides itself on creativity, a lot of the times I’m restricted as to what I can and cannot write. I understand why they do things the way they do, and I adjust. I just wish I had more freedom in some of the classes.

I’ve been blessed and lucky, I’ll be the first to admit it to have three scripts that I’ve written, in various stages of being in production to be filmed. Granted two are student films but a film credit is a film credit. I’m not going to complain when a year and a half ago I didn’t know the first thing about writing a script.

I can say I have the good fortune of having good people in my life especially as it pertains to writing. You’ve guided me for a long time and I also have to give thanks to a couple of teachers back in high school. Because of you three, my mindset is a lot different than my peers. Most hate rewriting or having to drastically change their darlings. I know it’s not about what I want it’s about what my audience wants. I see it as a challenge to give them what they want while still staying true to my vision.

I’m with you with having to write. I don’t feel right if I don’t write for at bare minimum a half hour. I’ve been fortunate the last month or so to have a lot of writing projects going.

Reply
    Corrie Ann says March 9, 2018

    You are messed up Garin – haha, just kidding. The editing and rewriting skill is crucial for a writer to be successful. And you are right to an extent about giving our audience what they want. Depending on the type of writing we do, sometimes we don’t know what the audience wants, so we should write from our heart. We all have something to tell the world and we should never stifle that message. I’m so excited about your screenwriting projects – keep me posted!

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