Many people tell me they think they’d like to write, or they feel called to write, or there is something they think they need to write about. But few of them follow through. I think there are several reasons.
- Writing is work. Writers have to be willing to put in effort. Producing a first draft isn’t too difficult. But the self-editing process can be long and labor-intensive. Sometimes I struggle for the right phrasing and word choice. When I finish a piece, I’m often brain-drained.
- Writers need to learn their craft. While we all took English classes in high school, we are not all good writers. Reading books on the subject, attending writing conferences, and possibly taking classes all help us hone our craft. Learning how to tell a story in such a way as to engage readers from beginning to end is an art form. Writing non-fiction that is not boring as dust doesn’t just happen, either.
- Writing takes time. This can mean saying “no” to other, also important, things. It means sitting at the keyboard for blocks of pre-determined time. Writing, like any other art, requires daily practice to attain excellence. The more we write, paying attention to things we’ve learned about writing, the better we write.
- The finished product is like our baby. We feel a need to protect it from criticism or injury. Therefore, we hesitate to let others read it, and when they do, we’re terrified they won’t like it or will want to change it. Or worse, they’ll reject it. Experienced writers must get over the idea that their product is perfect. We must allow those who are more expert to edit and comment. And we must not take rejection personally. Rejection is a professional decision that is based on many factors. Learning what those factors are is part of our education process.
Knowing all the above, you might wonder why anyone would want to write at all. But those of us who are called can’t avoid writing. Ideas spring into our heads. We become antsy or on edge until we’ve spilled our hearts onto the page. We are driven. We might try to ignore our need, pouring ourselves into other pursuits. But in the end, writing wins.