Why is learning how to write so hard?
If you want to be a writer, there are countless MFA programs, online courses, and more advice than one person could ever read on the internet. There are a bajillion writing guides on Amazon. And if you jump around on social media for even two minutes to see what writers are up to, you will quickly find more how-to guides, tips, tricks, hacks, and everything else an aspiring writer could ever want or need.
So, with all this information available, why is learning how to write still so hard?
Writers who are new to the game often believe they’re at a disadvantage. They don’t have years of experience. They don’t quite know what they’re doing yet. They don’t have the connections and contacts more seasoned writers might have. They don’t understand the publishing business.
While all these things might be true, there is one very important area in which new writers have a HUGE advantage. I was reminded of this last night while I played with my three-year-old son.
For quite a while now, I’ve been interested in death and dying. I’ve noticed that most people pretend that death is something that will really never happen to them, and if you experience the death of a loved one, not that many people feel comfortable talking with you about that experience.
No matter how many years you devote to the craft of writing, one question will always still haunt you. This one question pops up when you’re in the middle of writing a scene, and also when you’re lying in bed at night wrestling with self doubt. You might think you have the answer, or a whole set of answers, to this one question, but it always comes back around again. The question is…
A few weeks ago I attended a writers’ retreat that ended up being one of the most creatively intense experiences of my life. I dug deep into my own soul—and with the help of a few insanely brave writer friends—dragged what I found there out into the light.
It was cathartic, but it was also scary as hell.
Sometimes looking into your own wounds—those deep, dark ugly wounds you’ve been carrying your whole life—is like looking into the abyss.
As writers, we always hear about how we should mine our own dark places for creative gold, how all the hard experiences we’ve gone through will be fuel for our writing fire. I truly do believe that…but yet…