The Duality of A Writing Life

Those who don’t write can have a romanticised view of writers and what we do.  It is probably our fault.

We like to wax lyrical about the words we weave.  We portray ourselves as guardians of language, philosophers and word-smiths.

While we like to perpetuate the romanticism associated with the writing life, and tout the rewards that writing for a living provides, there is an uncomfortable and frustrating reality to the writing life.

Writing is really hard; very hard.

In reality the words don’t come easily.  Like statues chiselled from stonewriting tends to not only be slow and tedious but tiring as well.

When the words dry up writers often eek out an existence planning, brainstorming, note taking, drafting and editing.  Then the pressure of deadlines, word counts and our own heady ambitions and standards can weigh us down further.

It sounds like a dismal existence doesn’t it?  It may even sound depressing, but the rewards of drawing upon creativity’s elusive well deem our efforts more than worthwhile.  When the words do flow, writing is a joy; an elixir we jealously guard and prolong as much as possible.

With a muse perched upon our shoulder we can create not only quality words, but beauty itself.  Our words can spread ideas like a wildfire, provide food for thought and inspire readers.  We also wield the powerful privilege of engaging an audience.

Knowing how to induce that inspired state of mind, where perfect words just flow onto paper and screen, become a writer’s number one priority.  Everything is analysed; physical surroundings, moods, relationships, even diet.  A writer’s life can become all about optimising the conditions to encourage that productive state of mind.

Perhaps the truth is that writing is a balancing act; part skilled trade, part inspiration.  One nothing without the other.

This duality is exactly what freelance writers deal with every day.  Accepting this dual nature of writing, rather than fighting it, could help make our writing lives not only more enjoyable but maybe even a little easier.