Ernest Hemingway had lots to say on the subject of writing, some of it pretty discouraging. Take this, for example:
“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” [Ernest Hemingway]
That brought to mind other familiar quotes:
“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” [Gene Fowler]
“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” [Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith]
“Writing is not hard. Just get paper and pencil, sit down, and write as it occurs to you. The writing is easy—it’s the occurring that’s hard.” [Stephen Leacock]
There are aspects of writing that are undeniably difficult, but it appears some authors want us to believe it’s excruciatingly painful. I always thought they were being humorous, but what if it’s a ploy to make us appreciate their considerable talent and the effort they’ve put forth; or a conspiracy to discourage new writers from trying to enter the elite and exclusive society of the published author?
Surely it can’t be! We writers claim to be a friendly, encouraging bunch. A contract or two wouldn’t change us that much, would it? There have been a few blog posts recently dealing with envy and jealousy on the part of the aspiring writer, but we haven’t heard much from the opposite perspective. Is it possible there is a protective instinct at work?
Think about it. If we never burst through the barricaded doors, there’s more elbow room inside for those who got there before us. Less people to share the hors d’oeuvres and chablis.
Is this possible? Sure. Is it likely? Hmm… after due consideration, the other side of my brain says not. Otherwise why would so many successful authors lend a hand at conferences and on their websites? Why would they care enough to write helpful books? To make money off those of us who want to be where they are, you say? Oh, no. I think it’s called “giving back”. I’m sure that’s what it is.
So ignore the masochists. Take heart. Listen to the more encouraging authors out there.
“If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent.” [Richard Rhodes]
Fear not. I bring you tidings of great joy. Oh, wait… I’m ten days early with that quote. Sorry.