Writers don’t make enough money for the amount of work we do. We’re under-appreciated. Writing is hard. Getting published is harder. We’re tired. We’re hungry. WE WANT ICE CREAM.
Complain. Complain. Complain.
Do any of us actually LIKE what we do?
Yes. Of course we enjoy writing. Some of us, anyway.
But the reason there’s often so much negativity surrounding this profession and the craft and the people in it is the same reason anyone complains about anything.
We want to feel understood. We scream into the void because we want other writers to hear us.
Online writing communities are popular for a reason. They’re spaces for writers to share their work, build each other up, and encourage each other to keep going.
But they’re also a place where writers can share their struggles and issues and just straight-up vent about what they’re dealing with in their writing lives.
This can sometimes make it seem like all we do, all day long, is complain about writing. I know that’s how it feels when I tweet about x problem three days in a row (eh …).
Earlier today I actually sat back and asked myself, “Do you actually like writing? Because you sure haven’t been acting like it lately.”
Do I love writing? Sure. It makes me who I am, and I enjoy it in the moment. It’s just so easy to let other life stressors trickle in and sour your attitude.
I’m not always the most positive person when it comes to writing, despite trying to always spin my blog posts in a way that’s helpful while remaining realistic and honest. I get frustrated, just like you. I get discouraged and upset and I doubt that I’m cut out for this often mean, twisted game.
But I really want to try to do better. To not complain so much. After all, there are a lot of people out there who don’t have the luxuries many of us do. They don’t have blogs, writing jobs, difficult-to-handle clients … they’d give anything to have the problems we have.
I know every level of writing, if you want to look at it that way, comes with its own challenges. We all feel our own respective challenges deeply and we all struggle in our own ways.
We just need to remember why we do this. Why we write. If writing didn’t matter to us, we could very easily do something else and not have to do the parts of it we hate. But we don’t. Because despite the struggle, deep down, we love it. We want it. We NEED it.
Maybe we complain because we love it, and wish it were easier, even though it never will be.
I guess I can live with that.
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.
3 thoughts on “Writers Complain a Lot … Do Any of Us Actually Enjoy Writing?”
I adore writing. It’s magic. What I dislike is people saying it’s not a legitimate job. Like. Are you serious?
UGH. Whyyyyy? :(
I definitely love writing, and I think sometimes that warrants a certain amount of honesty. It is tricky. Sometimes expressing negative emotions can stir them up, fan the flames, so to speak, but other times expressing them can be a way to “get them out of myself”, clean the slate so that I’m free to feel and think what I need to as part of my writing process. There’s a way in which my mental/emotional palette needs to be clear and blank so that I can think and feel what the characters are experiencing without interference.
And I think there is something potent in continuing to ask the question. Some talk of chaining themselves to the task, telling themselves “I have to write today”, and there can be strength in that, but I think there are also times where we need to honestly ask ourselves “Do I still want to do this”, because the act of “actively choosing” itself has potency, and helps us remember and confirm that “yes, in spite of it all, I do still want to write.”