October 8, 2015

4 Secrets Writers Won’t Tell You.


“Anyone who says writing is easy isn’t doing it right.” ~ Amy Joy

Being a writer myself, and having other friends who are writers too, I can tell you that we hide secrets we don’t want you to know.

I was raised in a home where papers and pens exceeded the quantity of food in the refrigerator. Both my mother and sister are writers, and my father is a poet. Based on my experience, and theirs, I can scotch the myth that says writing is easy as pie.

Writing may sound easy, but it certainly isn’t. We go through a long process before witnessing a finished piece of writing. We usually joke about the secrets I am about to mention, but the truth is they are quite serious.

I have always dreamt of becoming a published writer, and I hear of many people wanting to become one. Nevertheless, talking about writing is not the same as the actual act. Hence, I think aspiring writers should know what is waiting for them; readers should be introduced to the hidden life of authors.

Based on many discussions I have had with writers—and living closely with some—I can tell you that many writers have a lot of characteristics in common.

I know we at least hide the same secrets:

1) We’re not always in the mood to write.

There. I said it. Falling out of a writing mood is familiar to most writers. When we are inspired and in the “writing mood,” words come out of us like a river; when we’re not, however, it feels like the end of the world.

Some days I just want to hide in my cocoon, staying away from anything that has to do with writing. Nothing I do will work to help me write. In short, I’m not always inspired.

The shocking news is that we are highly sensitive creatures when it comes to inspiration. Any trauma or negative situation can affect our mood. Some sufferings work as great tools to writing, while others hinder our ability to begin a new project.

The more shocking news is that it’s not always these events or moods that trigger our escape from writing. Sometimes we simply don’t feel like it. No matter how joyous or miserable we are feeling, words refuse to come when we’re not inspired.

2) Delaying is our best friend.

Writers are similar to ninth graders procrastinating homework. Sometimes I don’t write a single word in favor of doing something else. I think I might be the most successful procrastinator human kind has ever witnessed.

Every writer has their own reason for delaying work. Some refuse to face the problem of starting a piece of writing, which is basically the hardest part. Others unconsciously fear failure or mind-blocking; therefore they indirectly procrastinate.

Despite putting off our work, we all meet at the same point: We don’t always have the energy to be a Shakespeare. The sad news is that it’s really frustrating to us; the good news is that we recognize it.

If we compare the thought of writing with actually writing, it turns out that we think too much and write so little. Words are constantly on writers’ minds. Personally, I get most of my ideas when I’m sleeping. I wake up and stay in my bed staring at the ceiling. I virtually write articles every single night, yet when it comes to putting on paper what I have thought about, it often feels like I’m solving an algebra equation. Thus, I procrastinate.

3) Sometimes, we’re doubtful.

I am pleased to announce that writers doubt themselves! Yes, we are confident, but not as much as you think. In reality, we have plenty of doubts to overcome when it comes to our writing.

Writers are similar to artists; the greatest painters in the world destroyed their work and hated their art. I bet if we still used typewriters the floor would be filled with crumpled papers. Trust me, we are thankful for the “delete” button.

I can’t count the times I have given up writing. Especially with the presence of so many successful writers, any book or publication would shake my faith. Today, I am happy to say that I overcame giving up. I don’t completely stop anymore, but I must confess that behind every paragraph I write lies a whole bunch of doubts.

Writers secretly fear failure, opinions and mistakes, and so they doubt. It takes them many years before they can comfortably write without being cautious of others. To write takes courage and an effort to transcend fear. I personally know some writers who have astonishing pieces of work but are terrified of going public—it’s doubt that is eating them.

4. We think of you, too.

You heard me. We write for you. Few are the writers who solely write for themselves. Maybe we start with writing for ourselves, or keeping our words in the drawers of our bedroom, but once our work goes public, we start thinking about others as well.

Even if our piece of work is about a personal experience, we hide between those words lessons for people to learn from. When we acknowledge that our words are inspiring and helping others, we become the happiest living beings on planet earth, because helping others is one of our greater aims.

I constantly try to balance between writing to feel better and writing to help others. Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” and it’s true. Writing is meditation to us, basically removing all stains of negativity; however, it’s often hard to write for two. Not only do we want to make ourselves feel good, but we wish to make others feel good too.

I respected writers long before I became one.

Successful literary masters have always served as my inspiration, and idols. Some were mad, and others committed suicide, but I think their madness is what made them great.

Despite the abundant bad habits we have when it comes to writing, we love what we’re doing. Not finding inspiration easily, procrastination, doubt and writing for others are what make us writers.

Writing is a dream coming to life, and writers are the biggest dreamers one can ever meet.


Relephant Read:

The Life of a Writer in a Nutshell.


Author: Elyane Youssef

Editor: Toby Israel

Photo: Jun/Flickr // andrew smith/Flickr


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