Writing is hard

It is hard; I’m not lying

Let me start by telling you: writing is hard. It takes a big chunk of your life and time. What do I mean by this? Well, let me explain. Firstly, writing takes a lot of time. You need to be willing to give up something to write a novel. Secondly, writing takes a lot of mental effort. You need to be able to produce results nearly every single day. Thirdly, writing takes dedication. Can you dedicate the next year to writing something that maybe nobody will read?

Time

I’ll start by telling you my story so far over the last year. I’ve written over 220,000 words in total (so far) and only written my first book. I think I started in September/October/November last year with my first draft. It’s not an exact science. Well, I could probably look at the creation date of the file; but that doesn’t add to this blog post. Just for your information, it has taken me nearly a year to complete the first two drafts of my book (I write before and after work). You need this time as your mind can only hack out so many words per day (unless you’re some of the prolific writers who can hack out 10,000 is an evening).

Mental effort

In the last paragraph, I gave away this subsection. I write before and after work. By before, I mean I get up at 5:30 am (weekdays) and run for half an hour. When I get back, I make myself a quick breakfast and black tea and open my laptop. I then write for the next hour and a half before I need to go to work. It wasn’t always like this. I started this routine about a month ago. Before this, I used to read for that hour and a half in the morning. And even before that, I used to sleep.

I also write after work. Usually, I make myself a black tea and get to writing as soon as I get home. Sometimes, that’s just not possible. I’m too exhausted from work or too stressed, and I need time to relax. When this happens, I usually switch on the TV and turn off my mind. Writers are allowed to watch TV, right? I mean, Game of Thrones is some quality time. I manage to write approximately 1000 words in the evening (if I’m good) and then I switch off.

Dedication

You’ve made it to my last point. As I said in the opening paragraph, you need to be able to dedicate a portion of your life to writing. By this, I mean you should keep a schedule where you say no to people. I’m lucky (or unlucky) that my social life doesn’t buzz while I’m in Germany, and that means that I can write more often than other people. Not everyone is in such a position, so you need to learn to say no. “No, I am writing for an hour tonight.”

You also need to know that your first draft will not likely be the only draft you write. It’ll take you weeks, months, or years to complete your novel. Can you wait that long? Can you write every day to achieve it? These are questions you should ask before you begin. However, once you finish, the feeling is like a weight lifted off your shoulders.

Conclusion

Writing is hard, but it’s also very rewarding. I’m proud of my effort (even if it isn’t published). I do feel like I have achieved something in the last year, rather than twiddling my thumbs. I have made sacrifices (and I’m not the only one), but with these, I’m hoping it will end with a reward. I’m going to continue pushing myself and learning because it’s improving my life every day. I hope all you would-be writers also push yourselves and learn.

Originally published at www.amaitken.com on July 5, 2016.

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Writer and engineering manager @ Traveloka // www.alexaitken.nz

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Alex Aitken

Alex Aitken

Writer and engineering manager @ Traveloka // www.alexaitken.nz

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