Writing is Hard


Writing is really, really hard. I think this is how you can tell if someone is a writer. If someone tells you that writing is easy, they are probably not a writer. It’s easy to make letters appear on a page. But it’s hard to refine them. And it’s really hard to erase them altogether. But every writer, at some point, has done this. Even though it was hard.

I was once a revision hater, too. I didn’t necessarily think everything I wrote was perfect, but I liked most of it too much to think of editing as anything more than revision – spelling, grammar, syntax. I might have gone back and added quite a bit to my longer stories, but I never went back and changed what was already written. In college I was blessed with the ability to get As without trying too hard. I almost never even proofread my papers, much less revised them. Turns out, this was just as much a curse.

Revision is critical to the writing process. I have always believed this on some level, but not practiced it enough to benefit in any way. The hard part for me is the visualization: here is this rough, lumpy thing that I poured hours and heartbeats into, and now I need to rewrite it, spending more and more hours, and at the end most of those words will be sacrificed so that the pulse becomes stronger.

But how do you make that happen? My strategy so far is to put in the hours. Start at the beginning and literally write it again. Don’t “revise.” Rewrite. At least, that’s the only way I seem to be able to make noticeable, beneficial changes.

Do you have a different strategy I should try?  Or any advice in general on the subject of that process – the writing – that comes after the first draft?


When You Have No Office

Five months after our move to the breezy north, Caleb and I have yet to move above ground out of our chilly burrow. Because we are still in this apartment I’ve still been having trouble working on writing from home. Hopefully once we do move I’ll be able to set up a nice writer’s room and things will get easier.

In the meantime, however, my desk is not an ideal place to work due to the lack of natural lighting, and I can’t sit elsewhere in the apt. because then I can see all of the dishes, the laundry, the housework I should be doing. (If you’re looking for guilt-free procrastination techniques, this is for you.) So lucky for me, the beginning of my first semester at Spalding coincided with the opening of a great local coffee shop not five minutes from my house.

The shop happens to be owned by some friends of ours, and they arranged for me to write blog posts for them in order to get the word out without adding to their already busy schedules. In return, what do I get? A tasteful, caffeine-rich new office full of natural light!

It’s a pretty great deal – and I get a lot more work done!


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