Writer's Block Is Real: 21 Facts Of Life Every Writer Knows To Be True
Believe it or not, writing is hard. I know I'm preaching to the choir, as whoever reads this will most likely be a writer.
For those of you who are not, let me tell you about writing. It's harder than it looks to string words together to make a sentence, to make the sentences flow together and to progress to the next paragraph.
It's harder than it looks to edit your own articles, to find the right words, to truly express how you're feeling.
I've been writing since I was a teenager, and as I went through high school and college, it just made sense that I would go into a career in journalism. I've come across experiences and moods to which only journalists can relate, good and bad.
Writers would die in a 9-to-5 job.
Working in an office job would be absolute torture. For people who have jobs within those hours, work stops at 5 pm, and you don't take your work home with you.
Why would you put time barriers around creativity? Creativity is hard to force, especially between 9 am and 5 pm. For me, creativity strikes right when I wake up and in the last few hours before I go to bed. A banker's hours are 9 to 5; a writer's hours are 8 pm to 4 am.
Writers' rooms (and minds) are cluttered with ideas.
Writers have scribbles of ideas and quotes written down on scraps of paper, napkins and corners of newspapers because we know that a good quote or story idea can make our career.
Writers' rooms are filled with books and old journals they wrote in high school. Looking back on them is painful and amusing, as most of the entries are about high school crushes or gossip about friends we haven't spoken to in years. Speaking of high school, English was by far a writer's favorite class.
The Internet is collectively the best and worst thing to happen to writers.
Writers.com is open all the time. But so is Facebook. And Elite Daily. And BuzzFeed. And your e-mail inbox because you're waiting to hear back from a freelance writing gig you applied for.
The procrastination is real when we have the Internet. No wonder so many great writers, such as Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe and William Shakespeare were so brilliant and successful back in their day; they didn't have the Internet!
Writers are the best at procrastinating.
Writers' lives revolve around deadlines, and they know the best way to get sh*t done on time. Writers have a way with words and persuasion, so if they need an interview by 5 pm tomorrow, they will get an interview by 5 pm tomorrow.
Writers would probably lose it without coffee.
Coffee makes the world go 'round. Coffee is life — or cigarettes, wine, bourbon, whatever. We all have a vice. Mine is definitely coffee. Coffee in the morning and alcohol in the evening. I believe Ernest Hemingway said it best: “Write drunk. Edit sober.”
Writers all know that disappointing look from their parents.
You know the one, the one your parents give you when you tell them you want to be a writer. And you are so excited about it because the Earth and stars align and you finally found a writing job, but the first thing out of your parents' mouth is, “Does it pay well? Why can't you go into business like your brother?”
“WRITING IS MY CALLING,” you'll reply with a disheartening smirk because you have no idea if it will work out. Writers have to defend their writing gigs to everyone they talk to.
Writers all have second jobs.
There is no way one could live off of writing — unless you write a best-seller and it gets turned into a movie. Writers are also bartenders, waitresses, baristas, stand-up comedians or straight-up bums.
Writers get unique responses when they tell people they are going into journalism.
Writers get responses like, “What do you write about?” “Don't go overseas!” and my personal favorite, “Oh, so you want to be on TV?!” In some cases, yes.
But there is a big world of journalism out there besides announcing the news on television. For the print/web journalists, our heart is with the written word.
Writer's block is real, and it is horrible.
Hand cramps are also the WORST. Whether you write with a pen and paper or with a laptop, hand cramps are real, and they are not fun to have. We are very convinced we are going to have carpal tunnel as adults.
Writers can spot a typo from a mile away.
Nothing makes us cringe more than a grammatical error or a misused word on a public document, and we harshly judge anyone who uses the wrong “you're” instead of “your.” Our Bible is the AP Stylebook.
Dating someone is futile.
Because you know you will always be correcting his/her grammar and spelling, and you know he/she will hate you for it. You can't help it you're a perfectionist when it comes to speech and writing.
Also, our red flags for dating deal with grammatical errors. There is no worse feeling than seeing your boyfriend's room with no books, or having him give you a questionable look when you mention Thoreau or E.E. Cummings.
Our inspiration sometimes comes from other pieces of writing.
Writers will reread or listen to that one piece of writing, spoken word, poetry or our favorite book that we absolutely love and can't get enough of. What did this person eat or drink to possess such beautiful thoughts and then transfer them to paper, and where can I get some?!
For me, it is Anis Mojgani's “Shake the Dust.” I will never, ever get tired of listening to it.
We all have a routine before we sit down to write.
We crack our knuckles, change into comfier clothes, make sure we have a full stomach, have a cup of coffee or tea nearby, light incense and turn on some tunes.
Whatever we do to set ourselves up to write, it's sacred and unique. Writing is therapy for us, and sometimes, the routine does nothing but procrastinate us further.
We need to have all of our social networks checked, our email checked and some kind of alcohol next to us because we are not leaving this spot until we finish this damn article.
Writers feel the struggle and sadness by the fact that no one reads our wonderful, creative, personal blog or articles. Not even our significant other reads it. And, writers have the disappointment of knowing that everyone blogs; anyone can be a writer with a WiFi connection.
What makes a true writer? How can we make our readers fall in love with us? These existential questions haunt us and cause our never-ending insomnia.
Writers are their own worst critics.
Writers go from thinking we are terrible to thinking we're hot sh*t, from thinking maybe we could send it somewhere to get published to thinking we should choose a new life path. We will never be as good as we want to be.
The most bittersweet feeling is sending in our article to our editor.
Writers know that even though we just submitted that article, essay or blog post, it's still not over. It's not completely finished because, for some reason, all writers possess the idea that our writing needs to be perfect.
And, perfection will never be reached, though we will try our darndest to reach it.
Writers have unique favorite things.
While writers may have a favorite food, favorite color and favorite movie, writers also have favorite words, favorite authors, favorite poems, favorite books and favorite phrases.
Writers get it.
There is something special that writers possess whether it is because we spend hours reading, writing until our hands fall off or because we understand the beauty and inspiration in everyday life. Writers are fantastic observers, conversationalists and lovers.
Writers enjoy the simple things in life.
There is nothing more satisfying than flipping open a newspaper and hearing that crinkle, or cracking open a new book and smelling the old pages.
We love nothing more than an old library or bookstore. Our perfect date is spending the evening curled up in a Barnes and Noble — preferably one with a Starbucks.
Writers have a dream publication to write for.
It wouldn't matter if we didn't get paid for it because having a byline for that publication would be worth more than any amount of money. Writers also dream of writing the next great American novel.
We wish hotshot publishers would discover us, and we would turn into the next JK Rowling or Carrie Bradshaw. The thing is, we just need to find the motivation and inspiration.
Writers know there is no better feeling than seeing your name below your article.
Actually, there is something better: when someone tells you he or she loved your article. There is no drug that can get you higher than that.
My headstrong procrastinators, my dreamy muses and my creative old souls, this article is dedicated to you. I hope you find the strength to keep writing (even though it gets hard and your hand gets cold), the inspiration and beauty in everyday life and the humor to laugh and write about it.
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