Writing is hard

Why is it so difficult to type words? I know how to spell, I know how to string sentences together to express thoughts. So why do the words come so grudgingly?

I think, for me, the problem is one of caring too much. I want the words to be perfect, to evoke exactly what I’m trying to say, to be free of errors or confusion. When I don’t care so much about what I’m writing, and tell myself I’m just writing ‘for fun’, the words flow freely–and, are not of noticeably less quality than when I agonize over every syllable.

I know this, yet I can’t help but caring, over-analyzing, and fretting over each word.

The key is to find a way to trick myself into not caring about the quality of my work (until editing begins, of course), but that is easier said than done.

I can do it for a while. At first, I start spewing words without a care, but as they start to pile up, I inevitably go back and look over what I’ve done and realize it’s kind of good. Then the care starts to set in. I start worrying about the parts of it that don’t make sense. I start worrying about keeping up the quality, it suddenly becomes important. And once it matters whether it’s good or not, my writing slows to a crawl.

I’m stuck in that crawling stage now. I know, eventually I’ll swing back to not caring. After so long with so little progress I’ll eventually say ‘screw it, I don’t care anymore, I just want this stupid thing finished’ and return to vomiting words. But then, I’ll realize that my vomit is good, and start liking the story again, and grind to a halt again.

Is the trick simply to not read what I’m writing? I don’t know if I can manage that, since I have a pretty terrible memory and have to check what I named characters or places fairly often. But maybe that is part of the key.

I know there must be a way to trick myself into staying in the word-vomit phase. If I can discover it… it could be the secret key to fantastical success!

How do you do it?



4 Replies to “Writing is hard”

  1. Indeed. If you ever figure this out, let me know. As near as I can tell, the act of writing is turning something that is perfect in my head into something imperfect and disappointing on the page. This is really discouraging, and leads to enormous amounts of procrastination.

  2. You just put into words my biggest problem when writing. Thank you. I can just let the words flow when I start a new project, but as soon as I get excited about the story and start caring, my word count plummets. I also have this fear that what I’m writing is good to me, but is it actually good? Sure my family likes it, but do unbiased readers like it? Or am I wasting their time by asking them to read my story?

    Sorry I can’t offer a solution to kill that inner critic. But I hope it helps to know you’re not alone. It makes me feel better knowing.

  3. Hello there, Let it go as it comes, you cannot fight your own nature – if you run in sprints, go with it, it will eventually become a long distance event. (Maybe) Go well.

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