Add Writing to Your List of Things You Don’t Want to Do, But Have To

This won’t always be fun.

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Writing is a lot like exercise.

Usually, you don’t want to do it. You dread doing it. You know you should, but you don’t wanna.

Yet the moment you start, it’s (usually) a lot less terrible than you expected it would be.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Most of us love having said we’ve written, and merely tolerate the actual act of writing in the present tense.

Here’s another hard truth for you: as a writer, you’re going to have to sit down and string a bunch of words together into something mildly coherent. Often. Especially when you really don’t want to.

Most of the writing process is not fun.

You have to learn to deal with it, if you’re serious about “becoming” a writer.

Now, this doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to write for fun. No one would ever start writing anything if they weren’t at first — and in select moments thereafter — inclined to do it for no reason other than they felt like it.

But as you likely already know, there are going to be, if there haven’t already been, moments in which you’d rather do anything else but write. And in these moments, you have to choose between doing the thing you want (not writing) and doing the thing that should get done (writing).

Most of the time, you have to choose writing. Even if it’s not the fun thing. Or the easy thing.

Because how else are you ever going to keep up with your blog? Finish your book? Meet all the prerequisites for your dream job?

Writing requires work. No writer gets to any level of success by just having fun all the time. That’s why for many, writing is a job, and not just a hobby.

(I find it funny when anyone says to me, “Oh, so you like to write?” I mean, sometimes. Usually, I have to temporarily disconnect the internet or I won’t actually do anything I’m supposed to. A much better assumption would be, “Oh, so you work really hard writing and then for fun you eat pie? Awesome.)

Fun — sometimes.

Work — most of the time.

There’s an optimal time for both things. And often, that’s going to mean you have to write when and where you’d rather not.

One day, you’ll be glad you did it. Wrote when you didn’t want to, I mean. They say you aren’t supposed to force yourself to write. But honestly, I’m not sure any of us would ever get anything done if we didn’t accept that all first drafts are garbage and finishing them is much more important than writing only when we feel up to the task.

You will never succeed in writing if you only do it when you feel inspired.

Get ready to work. To drag yourself through some tough pages. To feel some major FOMO.

Because this is all part of the deal. You agreed to make this whole writing thing part of your life. A commitment like this calls for unpleasant times ahead. But also, many more pleasant ones.

In life, there are things you want to do. And then there are things you must do.

Writing can, and will, be both. Expect that. Embrace it. And learn to live with it.

In the end, you’ll accomplish more. You’ll feel proud. And you’ll have plenty of time left over to finally read that BuzzFeed article you saved on Facebook three years ago but never went back to. Probably.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.


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4 thoughts on “Add Writing to Your List of Things You Don’t Want to Do, But Have To

  1. Meg, I agree 100% with your post. If we were to wait for inspiration, we’d barely finish anything. Writing, like almost anything worth doing in life, is something we must do whether we feel like it or not.

    1. Haha I’m glad you agree. I can’t stand the advice that you shouldn’t “force” creativity. I mean, sometimes I just want to eat chips and throw my laptop out the window. I still have to write anyway. I’m pretty confident in guessing most people who say they can’t “get inspired to write” would have zero problem actually writing, they just don’t want to sit down and actually do it.

  2. Even when it’s your passion, it will sometimes feel like work. I’ve learned that the hard way, but I’m glad I still write everyday. This is a great reminder that doing what you love is worth the work!

    1. I’m so glad you still put in the effort to write even when it’s not always fun/easy. That’s a very valuable ability to have as a person who creates things. :)

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