“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” [Red Smith]

Writing. It seems simple enough. You sit down. You open a notebook or a Word document, depending on how high-tech you are, and you begin. A few scratches of the pen, a couple keys pressed, and you’re a writer. Simple.

Then you show it to someone. Doesn’t matter who – you’ve written it, and now you want someone to read it. The point behind writing is that someone has to read it, and this person — this friend or teacher or relative or significant other — they’re impressed. They tell you that you have flair. You have a voice.

You look back at that simple sheet of paper covered in black ink and you think: Do I? Do I have a voice? What is so special about this?

Other people want to read what you’ve written. The first goes to the second and says, Have you seen this? Have you read it? You need to; do it now! And the second says to you: I love it! Do you have any more?

You sit down again. You write again.

Again, they love it.

Now, you’re known as The Writer.

You still don’t understand how this makes you special, but it does, and now you have distinction.

You possess talent, and you’re expected to use it.

However, you don’t know how.

Writing is easy! they say to you. Just write. Everything you write is beautiful.

You know that’s not true. Sometimes your writing is downright deplorable. Sometimes it’s pompous. Sometimes it’s self-serving. Sometimes it’s too raw. That’s when all those people who love your writing start asking if you need someone to talk to, and you try not to point out that they’re ending their sentences with a preposition, and you’re pretty certain that’s a grammar no-no, although you are not sure because no one really cares anymore about grammar except for teachers, and even they give up after a while.

What scares you the most is not the rejection but the reception, and this is because when you write, you suddenly realize what you truly believe. Sometimes what comes out on the paper isn’t what you meant, or at least, it’s not what you originally planned to say. What if someone reads it?

Writing isn’t personal, they say. Writing is just writing. It doesn’t have to be about you all the time, does it?

You write something different. You research. You create a story about a life you can only daydream about when you’re supposedly working.

This doesn’t sound like you, they say. Why can’t you write about what you know?

It’s annoying. Write about yourself, don’t write about yourself: what do you want from me?

They’re not sure.

Writing is penning your soul in blood. It’s putting everything that’s vital about you on the page,  draining your heart, weakening your soul.

Writing is an art.

Writing is all-consuming and all-encompassing.

Writing’s simple, sure, to those who never do it.


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