The hard bits

The hardest part of writing a novel isn’t the beginning, or the middle, or the end. It’s not getting characters right, world building, keeping your sentences gorgeous, it’s none of those things. The hardest part is having to write when you don’t have the heart for it.

When you’re sad, or distracted, or in a bad mood, or bored. It’s writing when you can’t think straight, when the words are arranging themselves in dreadful “sentences” that hurt your brain. It’s writing when writing is the last thing you want to do, and every word, phrase, sentence is a struggle.

Writing through a crap day is the very hardest part of being a writer. Then getting up the next morning and doing it again. And the next. And repeat until the bloody book is finally finished.

(Blurbs are still harder, but.)


  1. cuileann on #

    No one is ever going to persuade me that writing a book is anything short of a heroic feat.

  2. sara z. on #

    Amen to that, sister. I have been in that place for SO MUCH of this effing book. I am trying to cultivate what monastic tradition calls fortitude. The art of courageous continuing. godspeed.

  3. the dragonfly on #

    i’m with cuileann…writing a novel is amazing to me. i’m always in awe of authors.

    thanks for writing through the tough days. we appreciate it!!

  4. hillary! on #

    I’ll never be able to understand how you people do it. Maybe that’s why I fing you people more heroic than anyone in the history of ever.

  5. Brent on #

    I agree completely. The fact that 95% of my days are “bad writing” days is one reason why I’m an amateur writer and not an acclaimed author/novelist like you. Of course even my best stuff might suck, but I can’t get enough of it WRITTEN to submit. 🙂

    Thanks for trudging through the hard bits. It means I’ll always have a good book of yours to read when *I* hit a hard bit and don’t feel like working. 🙂

  6. Lizabelle on #

    Keep trudging on! I hope it gets easier for you again soon.

    (And, you know, thanks for the post, because it helps to know that real, actual, proper published writers go through this, too.)

  7. lauren on #

    I’m intrigued by the 80/20 rule which says that 80% of productivity comes from 20% of effort. I’m trying to identify what that 20% is so I can goof off 80% of the time. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  8. Kelly McCullough on #

    Oh yeah. Head-wall, head-wall, head-wall. Repeat as long as necessary.

  9. Carrie on #

    yes yes yes and yes again. Ugh. Thank goodness for revisions!

  10. claudia on #

    Aw well I hope this doesn’t last too long!
    being only a student myself I have had only mild versions of this, but it sucks all the same.

  11. AliceB on #

    And yet you’re doing it! Bravo.

    [Three cheerleading cartwheels.]

  12. Pamela Freeman on #

    I think the worst is when you trudge through the bad writing day and know at the end of it that you’re going to have to throw away everything you’ve just slogged over, because it just isn’t working… that was my day, today! (Blurbs are much easier!)

  13. Kristine on #

    Having one of those weekends, as a matter of fact. Helps to know you’re not the only one.

  14. Justine on #

    Pamela & Kristine: Here’s hoping it gets better for both of you!

  15. Melissa on #

    Having one of those bad weeks with a book due 8/15. I’ll curse my way through at least 1200 words tomorrow, knowing that you’ve been there too! Thanks!

  16. Eric Luper on #

    My foulest moods are when I get my best writing done. Very close to the bone stuff. It’s also when I get the most speeding tickets.

  17. Justine on #

    Eric: Maybe if you weren’t typing while driving . . .

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