Writing Is Easy When You Have Something to Write About
Writing's Easy, Right?
An author I've been following was told by another author he knew (friend-of-a-friend who knows a guy) that writing was easy—all you needed to do was slit open your wrists and bleed on the pages.
Sounds simple enough. Authors are known to be a bit on the dramatic side, constantly wracking our brains, thinking up new ways to keep our readers enticed enough to stay with us for another installment. If the language and imagery are good, readers won't care too much about the price tag.
Don't take that too literally though, as an avid fan myself, I find the price tag for most masters to be within reason. If the book is as thick as the Iliad, reads like a third grader wrote it, and has the grammar to match it, $14.99 is a bit much to ask for. But what if, as an author, you find yourself unable to slit your wrist and bleed on the crisp white paper? What if, suddenly, you find yourself attacked by the ruthless Writer's Block Gnomes?
Imagine this: you're ready to sit down and write. You have your favorite method of writing primed and ready in front of you, (pen and paper, typewriter, computer, what have you) and next thing you know, you sit frozen, unable to write, or type, a single syllable down. Your mind is drawing a blank as the gnomes steal the threads of inspiration right through your ears. You continue to sit, mouth opening and closing like a fish, knowing that the words are right there in front of you, but you just can't touch them.
Welcome to Writer's Block, the very fiend authors battle every single time they want to bleed. And it's not just one thing either. It could be the thought of what if no one cares what I'm writing about? or What if someone doesn't like my style of writing? or my own personal favorite, What if I'm not good/smart/talented enough to become successful with words?
In my opinion, all this can be boiled down to one single word: Fear.
Fear of rejection. Fear of no actual talent. Fear of ending up like Herman Melville, a brilliant master of his trade, only to be vastly misunderstood by his audience, coupled with being decades ahead of his time, ending up dying alone and dirt poor, along with mountains of debt. It could happen.
This fear, alone, has stopped many gifted would-be-writers I know in their tracks, and have them turn and high-tail it out of there. You can't be afraid of something you don't start, right? But then the regrets set in. Why didn't I finish that book? Why haven't I started looking for an agent yet? Why aren't I considering self-publishing?
It's things like these where I think slitting one's own wrist is not as easy as any would believe. Sure, it's easy to stain the page, but then turning that stain into something beautiful, instead of mottled and horrifying, is where the real talent and hard work comes in.
Writing is easy. Telling a story worth it's weight in anything is the hard part. And that's where the Fear kicks in. I give mad props to all the authors out there who were brave enough to become published, and actually make a living in it. I only hope I can join them someday, once I've conquered my own fears.