Sunday, August 11, 2013

Writing is Hard Work

Let me repeat that: writing is hard work.

Okay, maybe: writing should be hard work.

There are some authors (and non-authors) out there that don't think writing a novel is hard. I laugh and then they give me a look (or type back a response) that lets me know that they're serious. Then I wonder what the heck kind of happy pill they're on that they think writing a novel is easy.

I understand that on the physical side it's not hard. I mean you just have to plant yourself in a chair for over 100 hours pounding out a first draft, then stay in the chair for another 50 hours doing first round edits, then another 50 hours doing third round edits before sending it off to an editor, oh and about 10-50+ hours making the cover, pre-promoting, and final run through before FINALLY publishing. Sitting for over 200 hours in one place isn't hard, right?

Let's not forget the actual process of writing. Whether you type or hand-write (or both), you're still constantly doing repetitive motion with your hands and fingers. If you have weak wrists: you'll make them weaker. If you're wrists are fairly average: they'll become weaker over time, faster than non-writers. You WILL eventually get carpal tunnel syndrome especially if you're crazy like me and just keep pumping out novels. I've all ready done permanent damage to tendons in my right hand that flare up if I push too hard.

Oh then there's the whole myriad of problems that occur when one writes all day, every day for long periods of time that may or may not include: sleep deprivation, caffeine addiction, high salt, high sugars, eye strain, etc. Not to say that all writers are unhealthy it's just that writing is a sitting down thing that does not require getting up and moving as recommended. Most writers try to balance writing with being healthy and that in itself is hard.

So we've determined that it's not as hard as say, construction on the physical sense but there are certain difficulties that come with writing in the physical sense.

Now let's move onto mental problems. These are always the best issues, really. And these are what makes writing easy, right?

Whoever said it's easy to come up with a plot, sub-plots, plot-twists, research things for accuracy, create entire worlds, and make the novel flow has either been writing too long or not enough. I can't being to count the amount of times I've hit a mental wall in a novel and went into sleep deprivation for days trying to figure it out. Actually, the entire reason I'm writing this blog is because I can't think of HOW my current WIP (will be Novel Series #8) ends.

Making a world from scratch including social beliefs, people, races, technology, entertainment, religion, landscape, language and anything else is taxing. You have to be able to weave it in a way that makes sense and everything has to co-relate. You also have to have a kind of history in mind as to how everything got to that point.

Okay, screw it, let's use Earth as a base. Even still, you have to make up new people (characters) that have some kind of conflict (hi: PLOT) to go through to fix whatever was wrong (CLIMAX/MAJOR PLOT TWIST) that threw them into the mess.

Okay, screw it. We'll use a Chosen One plot. Why is your Chosen One so different? What exactly does he have to do to save the world/other person/city/etc?

Crap. Yeah. Exactly. Let's not forget about foreshadowing, sub-plots, minor characters, scenes, and how everything interacts with each other to form a cohesive, interesting novel.

Well, let's forget about the mental difficulties that come along with being a writer and move onto emotional. There's no emotion in writing, right?

If you don't connect with your characters then your READER will not connect with your characters. Simple as that. If you don't feel bad when your main character, your hero, the Chosen One dies or is dismembered, neither will your reader. You need emotional investment in your novel to make it seem real.

So, what exactly is easy about writing again? I say again: writing should be hard work. This is something you're going to spend over 100 hours on so you should be giving it your all. It should include your blood, sweat and tears. If you think it's easy, please explain HOW it's easy.

I've been doing this for over a decade and it's not easy. There are challenges I face from time to time that make me want to scream. The tendon damage is one of them because it forces me to a stop. The not being able to figure out the plot is another because again, it forces me to a stop. Does it get easier? Yes. If writing is your passion, your dream, and your career despite all the hardships it will seem easy. That's the trick. Making it seem and feel easy to you.

So, is writing hard work? That's up to you as an individual to decide.

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