Why writing is so hard, and why I do it anyway
Posted by Kimberly S. Belle
With only a few books under my belt, I guess you could say I’m fairly new at this writing gig. There are some things I’ve learned along the way ~ that I’m a morning writer, that I write best in an empty house, that getting up and switching to a new spot will loosen up almost every plot knot ~ but there’s far more I’m still figuring out. What is my process? Am I a pantser or a plotter? Why can’t I write faster? Do I have a muse, and where is she when I need her? Will writing a book ever get any easier?
Most authors will tell you the answer to that last one is a big, fat no. Writing doesn’t get easier, because you never write the same book twice. Plots get more complicated, characters become better developed, motivations and conflicts become more intertwined. These are all good things, because it means you’re pushing yourself, and becoming a better author. But believe me when I say they can also account for a lot of sleepless nights.
And now that I have real readers, people I don’t know but who buy my book anyway, I have a whole host of new worries. That they won’t relate to my characters, that the plot won’t resonate, that they won’t like my second book as much as the first, that they’ll get bored of me and stop buying. Strangers tell me all the time what they love about my books, but also what they hate. It’s hard to write the next one without them–the critics and the fans–sitting on your shoulder.
Sometimes, writing feels like punishment, like a 90,000-word mountain I can’t and don’t want to climb. But when a new story idea wakes me in the middle of the night, when I hear my characters’ voices as clearly as if they’re sitting in the room next to me, when the words flow and the imagery sings and the dialogue crackles off the page, those moments make all the hard times worth it. Getting words on the page is not easy, and it’s not always fun, but I love it anyway.