12 Simple Reasons Writing Is So Hard

The solutions aren’t simple, but the reasons aren’t complicated.

1. It looks easy from the outside.

2. You spend a lot of time looking at finished, polished products instead of imperfect, incomplete drafts.

3. Some ideas sound great in your head but not as good when you dump them onto paper.

4. Writing is a mental exercise that is more physically draining than it seems.

5. It’s also time-consuming.

6. “Research” is one of a writer’s biggest distractions.

7. It’s fun to plan out a story but not always as fun to put that plan into action.

8. The idea of having written something is more appealing than actually doing the work for most people.

9. You want everything you publish to get praise and recognition. 80% of it won’t.

10. You expect everything to come out of your head already perfect. Not happening.

11. Making money as a new writer is almost impossible, so it’s never your only priority.

12. You spend most of your time thinking about writing. And not nearly enough time actually doing it.

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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17 thoughts on “12 Simple Reasons Writing Is So Hard

  1. Another true list. Kind of off topic, but I’ve been trying to figure out how to blog and write consistently after a very busy summer (and the busyness is still going). Do you have any blogs or tips on which tags work best for writing on a blog?

    1. Your tags would depend specifically on which topics your blog covers. But most sites I know of use them to group posts together to make it easier for readers to find similar content. e.g., tagging all posts about traveling on a budget “budget travel.” Some people don’t even use tags. I don’t know of any research that specifies whether or not they’re actually beneficial.

  2. I also find that writing requires a special mental state, and if one is tired, upset, or frustrated, that can become an additional obstacle. If I’m feeling angry, I have to at least partially resolve that so that I can set it aside and think about writing. I think that’s why interruptions can be a real challenge for me.

    1. That one definitely hits home. So many writers grow up reading books. It’s easy to forget those books didn’t start out as neat and well put-together as they are when we see them.

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