The Writer’s Fable By Shannan O'Neil
The coffee is stale and cold. The desk is littered with marked up papers, red pens, half eaten food, and a not so structurally sound tower of books. After hours of writing, finally the first line has the possibility of perfection. Every writer has been in that same situation: struggling to tame an inspiring idea.
How does one make an abstract idea that is floating around in their mind into concrete words on paper (or unfortunately, in the modern age, type on screen)? The answer is, they have work at it.
Somewhere in time a fable was created: writing comes naturally to a writer. This assumption is a problem that undermines the creative process. This assumption adds to a writer’s self-doubt: if I am struggling this much, am I actually a writer?
How does one deal with self-doubt and struggles? Look for advice from the art form’s masters:
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
The best writers experienced the struggle. Humans are not horses; we are not born walking. It is through the progression of time that walking becomes so easy that it appears to be natural. Even after years and years of practice, writing well, like walking, is not innately natural. But a great writer can make it appear to be natural.
To learn one must first fail. To write one never stops learning. It’s harsh, but it’s the world. To write you must have the courage to fail, and the passion to keep perusing when you do.
Our job is literature and our passion is too. We want to hear from you and ask you to share your stories with us in the comments below. Do you start at the beginning or the climax? Do you first develop the characters or the setting? Do you outline or just write? Do you begin in the morning or at night? How do you get out of a writing rut?
Be courageous; dump that stale coffee sitting next to you. Brew a fresh pot coffee and begin the process again: read, write, edit.
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