|Why Writing Never Gets Easier|
Linda Lee Williams
As authors, we think that our experience writing other books will help us with subsequent novels. To some extent, that's true. We can learn technique and improve our skills. However, we also tend to stretch ourselves with every new project because we enjoy being challenged. That's why writing never gets easier; it only gets harder.
I wonder how many of us would have begun in the first place if we hadn't been ignorant of the work involved? If we'd known that writing could become so addictive? That it could fulfill our dreams and dash our hopes at the same time? Let's face it: Writing is all-consuming. Once we're in the throes of creativity, we're likely to forget to eat or sleep and that we have families who depend on us. If our writing is flowing, we're apt to be more agreeable than we are when we feel we are chiseling words in rock. Only someone who lives with a writer knows how unpredictable our moods can be...
It's no surprise many writers suffer from insomnia. Our characters and our stories linger on our minds. Maybe we're on the fourth draft of our books and we still aren't satisfied with the results. Or maybe we received a bad review and we can't shake the feeling that somehow we've failed--that we can't live up to our own expectations, much less our readers'. We won't make those same mistakes again, we tell ourselves. Next time, we'll know better.
If only the answer were that simple, that convenient. As any author knows, each new book presents its unique set of problems and unforeseen complications. When we write from our hearts, an avalanche of info tumbles out, and not all of it belongs in our stories. That's why authors need critique partners or beta readers--people they trust to point out the flaws in their manuscripts. To be honest, we're not always the best judge of our novels; and for serious writers, being "good" isn't good enough.
Fellow authors, how do you handle the challenges and frustrations of being a writer? What keeps you sane during the creative process?