The Trouble with Writing


Every writer I know has trouble writing.

                                         ~Joseph Heller

Why do writers have trouble writing? Let’s face it. Writing isn’t easy. Except, maybe, for my friend Patti Larsen, who won the 2014 World’s Best  Story Award and churns out about 17 novels a year. Writing requires great skill, a wide vocabulary, an unlimited imagination, and infinite patience and perseverance, not to mention guts. Writers who start out with lots of talent and nothing else don’t get very far, I imagine. They might be the one-book-wonder who disappears into quiet obscurity because they never completed another book. It really isn’t just skill in constructing great sentences and paragraphs, but skill as well in putting those together into a masterful story; the skill of organization, which helps you keep all your ideas in order and helps you develop your story in a logical manner–that is logical at least to you; the skill of observation, which provides you with an unlimited source of ideas and details that bring your writing alive. We’re already familiar with the patience and perseverance it takes to write and revise until a book is ready for publication; it takes infinite patience and perseverance to get the book out and published, and even more to get publicity and marketing up to decent levels so that you can truly say that your career is writing, and it’s not just a hobby or something you do on the side while you’re working at another job that will pay the bills until you make that bestseller or award-winner. Even before the publication stage, writers need to have the courage–the guts–and the density to push your writing out there and at the mercy of public who either love your work,  tear it apart, or ignore it. In fact, I might prefer that they tear it apart, because from a marketing point of view, that would still sell books, and controversy generates interest; whereas a cool reception would not sell a single copy. All that exposure is tied to the fragile, introverted personality the majority of writers have, so it really makes it more difficult to dangle your work out there.