Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WRITER CONFESSIONS: The Myth Of Working Hard

Hello fellow writerlings! Are you all still rolling around the floors stuffed with turkey, or have you survived yet another family function and ready to tuck back into the world of writing? You have? GREAT!

Apologies for being absent the past 2 weeks, there was much food eaten and personal life issue things that came up that stopped me from writing here, editing my novel, and hosting #fairiefriday on Twitter.


I bet, as a writer, you've heard the famous story of how Nora Roberts (and if you haven't heard of her shame on you and the cave you live in!) wakes up, drinks her coffee, and writes from 8-5.





And not only does she write 8 hours a day Monday through Friday, so do several other famous authors.

If you're anything like me, you're now curled up in a ball on the floor and crying and feeling like a failure because cheezus christ you haven't written in 2 weeks/2 months/10 months. 

You hear stories of authors who are writing 8 hours a day, authors who worked a full time job and still wrote 5 hours a day and had three kids, did laundry, made dinner from scratch, AND paid the bills.

I asked the same question you do:


They aren't. They just have a time machine to do all of this. I checked into it. I'm totally trustworthy on this info. I swear.

But the thing is, you hear people around you saying how they write everyday and they finished a whole fucking chapter in 4 hours and someone else finished half a novel in 2 days and you feel like a failure because it's been forever since you wrote anything, and everything you DO write recently seems to be crap, and you're crap, and your writing is crap, and.....




I know you don't believe me right now. I didn't believe my friends when they told me this too. I felt like I was failing. I wasn't trying hard enough. I was doing enough. I wasn't being enough. If I were trying harder I'd be writing 8 hours a day (or night). And here were my talented, driven friends telling me how they'd just completed editing something, or finished writing their latest chapter, and there I was reading manga and watching TV shows and barely able to muster the energy to even think about writing.

The thought of opening up word to edit my novel was exhausting. I never even thought that could a real thing. But I literally got tired just from thinking about what I'd have to do and tackle. Meanwhile, my friends were writing.

But here's the dirty little truth you don't hear authors always talk about:

Many of them aren't writing every day

You heard me! They don't write every day. Let alone three days in a row. There are those who have this amazing work ethic and they can write every day 9 hours a day 5 days a week. But that isn't MOST authors--that's not even most famous authors!

Think about it. Do you think J.K. Rowling was writing every day five days a week (after book 2)? Do you? NO. Because she was raising her kid, doing book signings, celebrating with friends, doing book tours, speaking at events, AND FILMING MOVIES. Do you think she was writing every day? NO.

And you know what? MOST PEOPLE CAN'T.


Because writers? We're not 9-5 people.


And art brains, my friends, take more fuel than other brains. And fuel in an artists brain looks like--to muggle people--goofing off. We look lazy. We look like we're doing a bunch of useless stuff that has nothing to do with writing. But it does. IT ALL DOES. That's us, working.

It doesn't feel like work, I know. But it is. Your brain, unbeknownst to you, is storing snippets and snappets of ideas and color and characters and stuffing it into corners and files in your mind for later. And on the 4th month you're bemoaning and hating yourself, BAM! All of a sudden you see a picture or hear a line in a show, or read it in a manga or comic or book and YOU HAVE AN IDEA. You're CONSUMED with the idea or it suddenly fixes a problem in your story that's kept you from writing for the past X-amount of days and away you fly to your computer to write for 12 hours straight.

I know, I just blew your mind, right?

That's how writing works. We aren't normal. If we were normal, we'd be doing 9-5 jobs.

But we're not. And that's good. 

It's hard not to feel guilty for not doing actual writing, but writing is actually VERY mentally exhausting, and we require vast amounts of fodder for our imagination folders.

So don't despair about not writing for a long time. Your brain just needs to be replenished, and it needs time away from your work. You wouldn't want to think about how to cook something all day right? Same with writing. You're not meant to think about it all day, 5 days a week. You'll burn out. And you need fresh ideas. So when you read that comic/book/manga or watch that TV show, you're actually working, and you're working hard!

It's just that OUR work and research is *gasp* fun.

So the next time you feel that you're not doing enough, or being enough, or trying hard enough, SMACK YOURSELF. You
are trying hard enough. It's just that 'trying' is often researching fun things, reading books, watching movies, or taking up knitting. It alllll comes back to you in the form of a new idea or a better way to fix your book.
What about you guys!? Do you feel bad/guilty for not writing every single day? Do you feel like your failing? What do you  do when you get discouraged/frustrated with your writing? This author wants to know! 


  1. Funny, I was legit having a similar conversation with another friend just the other day. We were talking about how, even though we know all the other things we do when we're not literally writing or editing (be it menial chores, watching a show, playing a video game, whatever) serve as fuel for the creative process, we STILL get hit with that feeling of, "Shouldn't I be doing something else right now?"

    And this is coming from people who do write/edit most days out of the year (a week during the Christmas holidays and in the summer are the days in which I have NO time or ability to). So yeah, if I'm feeling that way, I can imagine how frustrating it is when you haven't been able to do anything for a while. :(

    You're definitely not a failure, Katie. ^^ You've written a novel and novella already, and I just know, whatever you're working on now will be amazing. And you know why? Because you will put in the time and effort when the time is right, and it will show. :) Keep being awesome, lady.

    1. Loool! This topic must be in the air! And it's TRUE, I feel that way even when I'm doing research for the book itself. "Shouldn't I be writing instead of researching?"

      And awww omg THANK YOU! I try REALLY hard not to see myself as a failure, but it's definitely hard. But I try to remind myself that clearly I didn't suck as much as I thought, or I wouldn't have gotten an Online Publishing House to accept my work. LOL! Seriously, thank you for your belief in me!

  2. Great post Katie! I went to a little writing workshop recently and the woman has published 4 novels in 6 years. She only writes for 15 mins a day! Then she takes off a week twice a year from her normal work. So it's definitely not all about writing constantly. That was so reassuring up hear

    1. Awwww thank you Noelle! Wow 4 books in 6 years! 15 minutes only!? That' slow! Lol! but she has 4 books out! Slow and steady wins the race, eh!?

      And yeah! The great--and also super frustrating--thing about writing is that everyone's pace is different. Which means that there's no right or wrong way to to have a writing a schedule. Which kinda sucks because that means you have nothing to compare to, and see if you're even doing it right. Lol!

  3. I reckon the trick is to not compare yourself but do what works for you! Everyone has different lives and responsibilities. Comparing always leads to feeling guilty about not doing enough!! My guilty secret is I can’t stop writing! I’d rather write than sleep or watch TV. Lol.

    1. Truer words! Every one is different and different things work for different people. Comparing is bad. It's also something that most people can't help doing. On a good day you can say "Man, I'm doing really good for me!" but on bad days you're scrolling through twitter comparing yourself to every writer friend who just got finished writing a novel or wrote 20k words in a day. It's pretty deflating.

      BUT you definitely shouldn't compare yourself! And LOL! I *wish* I had your guilty secret of not being able to stop writing! Mine is that ideas fill my head so fast that I get consumed with 30 ideas and don't have the time to write 30 novels right there on the spot. So 20 of them go away. Lol! And I'm left with 10. And STILL have a hard time with motivation for then writing them. Whoops!