Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why Do We Make Writing So Hard?


We make writing a lot harder than it is meant to be. Don’t get me wrong—writing is not a piece of cake. It is hard work, but it’s good hard work, like digging in the earth to make a garden. The problem for many of us is that our minds have convinced us that sitting down to write a story much less a book is at best painful, at worst impossible.

I believed this for many years –– and despite that I managed to get five novels, two picture books and one book on writing published. I don’t believe in the pain theory of writing any more. Experience and age has convinced me of this:
all our stories and novels are vibrant and complete somewhere in our creative unconscious. If we could side-step the Inner Critic who resides in the mind, we could sit down, put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and the story would reveal itself in its glorious completeness in much the same way as Mozart’s symphonies did for him. I have read that Mozart sat down and wrote his symphonies with very little revision, if any at all. In other words, he gave himself over fully to the creative journey and fell headlong into its passion.

The first time I read about Mozart composing without revision, I thought, sure, right. And if it’s true, well, we’re talking Mozart. For sure, that’s not me! Now, some twenty-odd years later, I no longer doubt that it is possible to sit down and write a book from beginning to end and have it come out whole. I would like to experience such a creative flow and know that what prevents me is me, my mind that says it’s impossible, “What, are you kidding? Writing is blood, sweat and tears. It’s revision after revision. It’s tearing your hair out. It’s giving up and picking up. It’s blah, blah, blah…”

Because that voice, the voice of my Inner Critic, still has sway over me, I have, like you, something of a difficult time opening to the creative flow. It’s getting easier. And who knows? One day I might just manage to quiet the naysayer in me and write a book whole from beginning to end. For now, I’m happy that writing is no longer such a mountain to climb… and I can imagine the possibility of creative nirvana!


Looking for help in defanging your Inner Critic? Explore My Coaching
When you are ready, call me at 914.962.4432.

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2 comments :

  1. It's funny I wrote an entry much like this today in my own blog. I find that my 'inner critic' has been a very large part of my writing. I have recognized this and have been trying to break that part of my writing out of the early stages. It can be useful if tamed during the rewrite process but the initial stages should definitely be uninterrupted by doubt and self-consciousness.

    Great post!

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  2. Thanks for posting. I'd love to hear some of the things you've done to defang your inner critic!

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