IWSG: Why Writing Isn’t Easy

Today’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop where insecure writers like myself can share our worries and offer advice and encouragement.  Click here to find out more about IWSG and see a list of participating blogs.

You could call this a writing exercise, or you could say it’s a way of flexing the imagination’s muscles.  Every once in a while, I stop whatever I’m doing and ask my muse a question.  I may even write the question down, to make sure she understands it clearly. Then I wait and try to imagine how my muse might answer.  Sometimes, surprising flashes of inspiration come.

If I ask a story related question, my muse tends to get back to me pretty quickly.  Muses are good at figuring out story stuff.  But sometimes I ask bigger questions—real life questions. With those sorts of questions, it takes my muse a little longer to respond.  Sometimes a whole lot longer.

Recently, I asked my muse: “If I was born to be a writer, why is writing so hard for me?”  You see, I’ve always believed that God made me to be a writer, or at least to be a creative person of some kind.  While my feelings about organized religion have changed a lot in recent years, that core belief is still there: writing is my purpose in life.

And yet writing is so absurdly difficult!  Why does it have to be that way?  Just motivating myself to pick up a pen and get started each morning is such a struggle.  I have to wonder why I keep forcing myself to do it.  I feel like Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a mountain only to watch it roll all the way back to the bottom at the end of the day.

Yes, I may be making progress in the sense that I’m getting words down on paper.  Yes, my current WIP is creeping ever closer to completion.  But it doesn’t matter.  Each night, that boulder (which represents my motivation to write) rolls back down the mountain, and each morning my motivation starts at zero once again.

My muse spent a long time pondering my question.  I suspect she may have fluttered off, leaving me alone for a time while she consulted with the High Council of Muses, or maybe she embarked on some other epic quest, fighting dragons and seeking out forbidden muse knowledge.  Days went by.  It was over a week before she came back.  And then she said to me: “Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.”

And of course my muse is right.  There are many things that have come easily in my life; I don’t value those things the way I value the things I had to fight for, or struggle for, or sacrifice for.  Writing is hard work.  It will always be hard work.  And that’s okay because if it weren’t hard work, it would not feel so rewarding when I get my writing done.

21 Responses to IWSG: Why Writing Isn’t Easy

  1. Steve Morris says:

    Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. That’s a good answer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d love to hear more about your muse’s adventures while she’s away. If she doesn’t mind my asking, are her wings made from graphic novel pages?

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      That’s an interesting thought! I don’t know. I kind of assumed they’re chitinous, like butterfly wings, but now that I’m thinking about it that might not work. I think if I asked her, she’d tell me to go do my research and find the most biologically plausible answer I could, because that’s the kind of writer she wants me to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. CareSA says:

    Your motivation may be hard, but your writing is easy, easy to read, easy to understand, easy on the tone. Our writing reflects our personalities and overall you seem to be a nice easy person. Has your muse got something to do with this ? She’s cute.
    Now enjoy and share who you are with us, and just write.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Wow, thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind words.

      Honestly, I think that if I were to go back in time and meet myself from ten or fifteen years ago, I’d find that I was kind of a jerk. My writing played a huge role in forcing myself to reexamine my values and priorities in life. So yeah, I guess my muse does deserve credit for making me a nicer person.

      Like

  4. DRShoultz says:

    Can’t say I have a muse, but I do talk to myself a lot. Like I pondered in this week’s post, I often wonder if I would write if no one read what I produced. Odd as it may be, the answer is yes. I think we all write, not because it’s easy or leads to immediate fame. It’s what we do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Yes, I’d also keep writing even if no one was reading. And I think it’s good to affirm that to ourselves too, because what we do is valid even if we don’t necessarily get validation from others.

      Like

  5. I like the idea of being purposeful about asking your muse questions. I might try writing some down. 🙂 Happy IWSG day! http://www.raimeygallant.com

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dtkrippene says:

    My muse once got a restraining order against me. All is well now, but she insists I show up regularly.

    I’m sure you have a better relationship with yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. chemistken says:

    I agree that having writing be hard makes it more rewarding in the end, but is there any reason it has to be THIS hard. I think I would still feel rewarded even if the difficulty factor went down by a factor of ten.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sourena says:

    In fact writing is hard sometimes that i wished that humans had invented a machine that copys your brain’s thinkings and writes your thankings itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Juneta says:

    Wise Muse. Love the art pic. Happy IWSG Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Steve Morris says:

    I am currently on a bit of a roll with my writing. After a period in the doldrums, when I spent too much time worrying and my daily word count plummeted, I heard an interview on the radio with an Olympic athlete who claimed that mental positivity is more important than physical ability in winning a medal. That’s a pretty strong statement. We’re talking about an Olympic medal winner, saying that natural ability isn’t the most important factor in winning gold.

    So I then followed some advice from a self-help website to consciously boost my self-image. (I know some people will roll their eyes at this point, but it worked for me.)

    I did the following. I listed the personal attributes that make me well-suited to succeeding in my chosen career (self-published writer of fiction), together with some hard proof that I have these. The process was rather like preparing for a job interview with myself for my current job.

    I also looked for evidence that I am actually succeeding in my chosen career. To do this I read positive feedback I had from readers (I excluded all the negative opinions.)

    The result? I immediately felt much more positive. I started to write … and my daily word count has doubled. I am writing polished publication-ready prose at twice my normal rate. My confidence has been boosted further as a result and I am now literally flying! I’m probably in for a hard landing at some point, but at the moment I am enjoying every moment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      That’s great to hear! I’m glad you’ve pulled yourself out of the doldrums!

      My experience with self-help stuff is that what works for one person may not necessarily work for someone else. Self-affirmations have been good for me as well, especially in the sense that they counterbalance the self-criticism that seems to come automatically to me. But they’ve also backfired for me, because if I’m feeling really down on myself my self-affirmations start to sound sarcastic.

      But there are other exercises that help me, like the asking-my-muse-a-question exercise I described in this post. Whatever works to keep you writing, I say run with it!

      Liked by 1 person

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