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Writing is Hard

Video 049

There are a lot of reasons why I write but a big reason is to get to that flash-of-insight moment where I figure something out with my story. I’ve had it happen often enough, but still I forget that the way to get there is by sitting with a pen in my hand, making words, even if they’re the wrong ones. Sometimes I get the flashes when my mind is wandering — when I’m walking or doing the dishes. Never, ever, does it happen when I’m looking at the internet.

There is so much about writing stories which involves giving up control. There are many lovely parts of a story we can control, but the flow and inspiration — those things which make a story magical and excellent — are out of our control. They happen or they don’t. For me, they are far less likely to happen if I try to wrestle them to the ground and onto the page.

It’s only really when I rip my heart out of my chest and say, “here, you take it” to the universe or my muse or the ghost of James Marshall, that I can get to that place of magical insight.

And so I cheat my way into creative control by baking bread, sewing,1 learning how to make a video, reading books by other people. Those are all important too. But the only way really to write a book is by sitting down and writing a book. And not worrying about controlling it.

I realized after I recorded this video that the main reason really that writing is so uncomfortable is because my brain wants digital distractions. Sitting and writing in a notebook, hoping for inspiration, isn’t quite thrilling enough for my brain anymore. I’ve strengthened my ability to do deep work by getting off social media, but social media is hardly the only digital distraction. I know I can check email. I know I can browse around and see if I can find that one amazing website that will change my life.

Writing is hard, but it doesn’t have to be a struggle. It’s that desire for more! fun! dog! videos! that makes it a struggle. It can be hard but fun. Writing is fun! The magic trick of making the invisible visible (thoughts into typed words) and then, hopefully, making it invisible again (a reader reads the words, and they become thoughts) is outrageously fun. Something can be hard but easeful, and when I surrender to the writing, that’s how it feels.

When I forget this and try to control it, it’s super extra hard (a struggle) and I feel like I’m not good at this anymore. When I remember, and embrace the delicious difficulty of making a whole dang story exist, then I feel like I’m a writer. Because I am.

Write your book. So many people never do. Be one of the ones who does.

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This is your reminder that The Map to Inspiration, my 4-week-long online course about reconnecting with your creative intuition, starts next Tuesday the 16th. It’ll help you embrace the notion that making art is hard, but worth it. Doors close in one week, next Friday the 19th, so if you’ve been waiting to join, now’s the time to do it. More info is on the course page on my website.



If you are a sewing person and are interested, the jacket I made is the Ilford Jacket by Friday Pattern Co, and the skirt is the Tedra Skirt from Lotta Jansdotter’s Everyday Style.

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Do the Work
Pep talks about writing and creativity, mostly while I'm walking the dog.
Julie Falatko