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April 15, 2018
Writing facts
WRITING: THE UGLY TRUTH

 

Somehow I think every writer can attest to having certain illusions about writing before they actually started writing. You know that ‘I dream of writing’ stage where we thought we knew exactly what we were getting into. Then we moved to the ‘actually writing’ stage and all of a sudden those castles are falling from the clouds and we’re wondering what the heck we were thinking in the first place.

Writing facts

 

My obsession with writing began so long ago that sometimes, I think I was born with it. Growing up, my favourite thing to do was to watch T.V. The stories fascinated me. I would spend the hours during which I waited for sleep, thinking about the characters, imagining them interacting with each other.

The books I read then held no appeal for me so what I really wanted to do was to make movies then rather than write books. It would be a few years before I realized that to make a movie, a script would need to be written.

A few years down the road, I read my first non-Enid Blyton story and I knew- I knew– that this was what I wanted to spend my life doing.

So at the tender age of 10, I jumped into the world of writing with only a vague idea of what my work-in-progress would be about but with a ton of enthusiasm. No planning whatsoever.

 

I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE EASY.

After all, I made up stories in my head all the time. And in a way, it was easy. You know, the whole ignorance is bliss thing. I had no notion of plot or characterization or setting. Theme was something completely foreign to me. So how could I struggle to attain a standard I did not know existed.

It was not until I grew a little and began to study more about writing that I realized how hard writing really was.

It wasn’t easy. Not by a long stretch.

It wasn’t quick. I laugh at this thought now.

It is not a ticket to fame and riches. Oh, my young, naïve ten year old brain.

Some stories truly don’t get published. Gasp! I know. I can imagine bubbles bursting all around the world.

WHAT I DISCOVERED INSTEAD

The frustration of facing a blank page, your mind a clean slate, no words coming to mind.

As a child embarking on this journey, I didn’t know that even when words did start pouring out eventually, I would hate most of what I wrote at first.

I didn’t count on the feeling of inadequacy I felt when picking up another author’s book.

I didn’t know the frustration I would feel when I found an idea I thought was original on the back of some other book.

Or the sadness that came with moving on from a story that just can’t be fixed.

I didn’t imagine that I would ever doubt myself or my abilities.

Or that I would ever be tempted to quit.

 

THE TRUTH

Writing is hard. Beautiful prose does not just happen. It needs to be worked at, draft after draft, after draft, after draft…And sometimes you have to quit on a story even after many drafts.

There are no new ideas and so you must work even harder to distinguish yourself from other authors in the same genre.

More often than not, you have to force yourself to get writing. The muse is fickle, my friends.

There will always be critics. Most often, you will be your own greatest critic.

 

SO THINK AGAIN

So if you want to be a writer because like me, you thought it would be easy or a quick ticket to fame or a fast way to gain some easy money, think again. Because ten years down the road, I’m still here struggling to make it in this bizarre world of writing.

To succeed as a writer, you need to be diligent, persistent. You need to have thick skin. This is not a profession for the faint-hearted or weak-willed. You need to be stubborn in your pursuit of success.

You need to accept that there will be writers far far better than you out there. You need to be willing to learn from them. You need to be humble.

Writing is not for the faint-hearted or weak-willedClick To Tweet

 

You need to understand that sometimes, it can suck. Sometimes, you’ll hate what you write. Sometimes, your writing will receive negative reviews. You need to be able to write through all this.

 

THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT MAKE UP FOR IT.

The thrill of a new idea, just discovered. The excitement bubbling in your soul. The sun shines brighter, the air smells fresher, and nothing can dull the moment. The possibilities are endless. You find yourself running about to find a notepad or opening ever-note on your phone so you can scribble it down all the while thanking whatever sacred being you worship for the pearl of inspiration.

The satisfaction felt after writing a particularly beautiful paragraph or even a turn of phrase. Even after pages of rubbish, just those few perfect words are enough to keep me going. Those few words show potential and that is enough.

The joy you feel after someone compliments anything you write. Even if it’s a grocery list. Just imagine the butterflies you feel each time you publish something. Hoping. Just hoping someone would like it. And then somebody does and it’s like the whole world is perfect for a second. Just that person makes all the work and time spent worth it.

How much better you feel after writing for a while, even if you were sad or angry. Writing puts you in such a calm, serene frame of mind.

The intense desire to write that once hooks you, really hooks you, never leaves. Even when you’re tempted to quit, you can’t because somehow amidst all the heart ache, it has become as necessary as breathing, even when it’s bad.

The incredible friends you can make by connecting with other writers.

 

BOTTOM-LINE:

Writing is a lifestyle. It’s hard, exhausting, time-consuming, sometimes fruit-less work. It can also be an amazing, restorative, exciting…adventure

Like any important thing, to get the good parts, you have to want the bad too. You have to love the whole thing. You have to be ready to work at it until you get the hang of it and even then.

But it’s so so worth it at the end. I promise.

 

 

 

COMMENT

So what illusions did you guys have about writing/photography/poetry/art or whatever your passion is and what truths have you learned over the years. Please tell me in the comment section. So eager to hear from you.

 

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Did you have these illusions about writing when you first started out?Click To Tweet

Writing facts

 


Alright, it’s the end of the post which means:

SO today’s prompts:

Imagine you are fated to rescue a mystical world from a tyrannical ruler but your only power is the ability to write beautiful prose/poetry. How would you use this to free the people? Write a short story in which the pen is truly mightier than the sword.

Imagine you are fated to rescue a mystical world from a tyrannical ruler but your only power is the ability to write beautiful prose/poetry. How would you use this to free the people? Write a short story in which the pen is truly mightier than the sword.Click To Tweet

 

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2 Comments

  1. Chinaza says:

    I am my own greatest critic. More than half the time I think I write trash really, but I’ve learned that my identity is in Christ and if what he has sent me to do is write, then I do it the best I can.

    • thisgirl says:

      Exactly! Me too. That’s an awesome attitude to have. We can’t help but write. Even if it’s crap, we have to write anyway. Thank you for commenting.
      P.S. I do love your blog.

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