Writers have a mysterious aura around them. We admire their brilliance, ingenuity, candour, flamboyance and even, on occasion, their eccentricities. Words appear to flow effortlessly with a languid confidence from their minds onto a blank sheet of paper. Mere mortals labour over a sentence placement; “great” writers simply toss a couple of ideas into the air to create a best seller.
Writing is difficult, whether you fit into the “great” or the “mere mortal” category. Gene Fowler once said, “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” Ernest Hemingway agreed. “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Thomas Mann admitted, “A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” Roald Dahl pointed out that, “Two hours of writing fiction leaves this writer completely drained. For those two hours he has been in a different place with totally different people.”
Kurt Vonnegut was more descriptive with, “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.” George Orwell confessed, “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
Writing is not easy. When your pen floats above the paper, ready to record you words, remember that angst is part of the writing process. Have courage. Write! Take it from Ray Bradbury, “You fail only if you stop writing.”
Perhaps the best way to describe a writer comes from Dorothy Parker, “I hate writing, I love having written.”