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A few years ago, I got into a conversation with a non-writer about writing. I don’t remember the context, but at one point I made this statement: “Writing is the hardest work I know.”
I’m not prone to being dramatic, so my own words caught me off guard. Did I truly believe that?
I turned it over in my mind for a few moments. Then it was clear: Yes, writing was truly the hardest work I knew.
No matter what type of writing you do, I’ll bet you can relate to some of these statements:
- Writing makes my brain hurt.
- Writing always takes longer than I think it will.
- I almost always fall short of my own expectations.
- Writing is emotionally exhausting.
- Sometimes I wonder if anyone is reading what I’ve written.
- Editing is almost never fun, and sometimes it’s downright painful.
If writing is such a chore, why do it? Is it really worth the hassle? These are honest questions worth asking.
If writing brings so much potential pain and discomfort into our lives, should we maybe just walk away?
Why keep writing?
When you look at the blood, sweat, and tears involved in writing, it’s easy to feel that way. It’s the reason so many writers give up just when they get started. It’s also the reason so many of us get discouraged after we have been writing for a while.
So … why do it, then? Why keep writing?
I do it because of things like this:
When I get a message from a reader in India thanking me for the impact my book made on her life … I know it’s worth it.
When I meet new people at a writing conference or a meetup, and they impact my life in new ways … I know it’s worth it.
When a local pastor buys a copy of my book for everyone on his staff so they can study it together … I know it’s worth it.
When I publish a newsletter or blog post and feel the satisfaction of creating something … I know it’s worth it.
When readers send me comments through Facebook, email, or my blog … I know it’s worth it.
When writing gives me the opportunity to teach a class or speak at a conference … I know it’s worth it.
When people ask me how they can get started in writing, and I’m excited about the opportunity to help someone … I know it’s worth it.
When I feel the confidence and joy that it brings me when I call myself a writer … I know it’s worth it.
When I think of all the cool opportunities we have as writers to get our words in front of readers through self-publishing, blogging, freelancing, podcasting, and other avenues … I know it’s worth it.
When I stop and remember that in a hundred years, when my current digital files, pictures, and video will probably not be readable by whatever devices are being used, and that my books will be one of the ways my great grandchildren get to know me … I know it’s worth it.
There are so many reasons to keep on writing. These are just a few of mine. I know if you sit down and take a few moments, you can come up with your own list.
Is writing sometimes a hassle? Is it often painful? Does it take work? Do I usually have to start writing before I feel in the mood?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
But in the end, writing—and what it will do for you—is absolutely worth it.