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?
There are a lot of tips and advice out there on what makes for a great writer. I’ve written on this topic many times before, myself. It takes persistence and determination, say the experts. Writers have to be brave, says Charles Bukowski. You have to be clear on your goals, ready to receive hard feedback, and have an organized daily schedule, says the internet.
However, I’ve actually met and befriended hundreds of real life writers and I can say with a good degree of certainty that not all of us are all of these things. Or, we’re only some of these things some of the time. The rest of the time we’re disorganized, self-doubting, afraid, and not at all ready to hear harsh criticism of our work.
It’s hard to talk about what it means to be a writer to other people who are not writers.
Because most of the time, they really, really don’t get it.
When you tell someone who is not a writer that you’re writing a book they usually ask one of these types of questions:
Today’s interview is with Diana Saltoon-Briggs, author of Wife, Just Let Go: Zen, Alzheimer’s, and Love, one of the books that made my ‘Top 5 Memoirs of 2017’ list. Diana’s book is a must-read for anyone interested in Alzheimer’s, aging, and the way our culture views death and dying. I was awed and more than a little inspired by her answers to my questions below.
One of the main topics of Wife, Just Let Go is your beloved partner’s struggle with Alzheimer’s near the end of his life. This is a disease that has gained much more widespread publicity in recent years. Have you found that people have reached out to you specifically because of the way you so honestly treated your experience as the partner of someone with Alzheimer’s in the book? Have you heard from others who have gone through similar experiences?
Today’s guest post is coming from Jen Cross, author of Writing Ourselves Whole: Using the Power of Your Own Creativity to Recover and Heal from Sexual Trauma. Jen is a brilliant writer who’s led transformative writing workshops through her organization Writing Ourselves Whole since 2002. I am so honored Jen took the time to share her awesome writing wisdom with us.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
This quote, attributed to Pablo Picasso, is my latest obsession. Over and over, these words ring in my head. All the projects I keep putting off, that I tell myself I have plenty of time to complete, are clamoring for my attention. I make time for paid work, for house work, for the dog, for family. For television, for administrative tasks, for cleaning up the yard waste and making sure it gets into the green bin.