Reading is easy. Writing is hard. And writing novels is even harder. There are a thousand different ways to do it, and none of them are easy. Don’t be fooled by writers that tell you they love to write. The actual process of writing is shot through with waiting, uncertainty, confusion, discouragement and risk. Much of the time, a writer simply sits with fingers poised over their keyboard as they gather wool in their minds. Of course there are times when the words flow effortlessly and brilliantly, but that is exceedingly rare. So, why do writers write? What is the payoff?
There are many.
The first, most obvious, payoff is the satisfaction/exhilaration of creating order from chaos. On a good day, a writer may begin a writing project with a specific idea of what they want to say. On a more typical day, the writer may only have a general idea. Either way, the actual words remain floating in the infinite ether of the writer’s mind until they are chose and fixed, one by one, on the page. And that’s when the magic happens. When the process is complete, the writer has created something concrete and specific out of chaos. Trust me, that brings satisfaction and exhilaration.
The second payoff is the learning process that takes place in the writer’s mind as they select words and phrases, erase, revise and ruminate on the subject of their work. Distilling it into sequential, specific words takes the writer through a growth arc that leaves them smarter and wiser at the end than when they started. Growth is painful. But that is the point. No pain, no gain. In the end, the most efficient and direct way to master a subject or an idea is to write about it.