The Misery of Writing

Why do so many writers profess a hatred for writing?

Aaron Schnoor


Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Writing can be a thankless task.

I love writing. I truly do. But, like many writers, I often find the process of putting words down on paper to be difficult.

I want to call myself a writer. But when it comes down to it, I avoid writing like the plague.

Instead of writing, I’ll go for a walk. I’ll feed the dog. I’ll take out the trash. I’ll fold the pile of laundry that’s been sitting in the laundry basket for a week. I’ll rake leaves. I’ll begin house projects that should have been completed months ago. I’ll finally get around to cleaning out the car.

I’ll do anything but write.

So, with that in mind, can I really say that I love writing?

No, I can’t. When it boils down to it, maybe I can’t say that I love writing.

I’ve discovered that what I really like is the knowledge that I’ve created something—not the actual process of creating.

The American writer and poet Dorothy Parker put it best: “I hate writing, I love having written.”

Why are writers this way?

Writing is Painful

Here’s a nugget of truth that cannot be avoided: good writing is vulnerable writing.

A great author tells the truth. He minces no words but shares every detail, even to the point of embarrassment to himself, in order to create a story for his audience.

A great author shares part of himself with his readers. He sacrifices himself so that the story can live.

There’s a great quote by Ernest Hemingway, one of my favorite authors, that perfectly captures this idea:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

If you’re like me, it’s much easier to write about a historical event or impersonal topic—like Alexander Hamilton’s lies or poetry in World War I—than it is to discuss a personal subject. After all, who wants to share vulnerable parts of themselves?

But the best writers, even those who write only fiction, are willing to give readers a glimpse into their…