Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Writer's Wednesday - It Doesn't Get Easier

In part nine of her series, Riding the Writing Roller Coaster, Pink Heart Society columnist Barbara Wallace answers the question, "Does Writing Get Easier?"

Back when I was struggling to be published, I used to tell myself that once I wrote a book good enough to be published, the writing process would get easier.  After all, I would be published!  Clearly that mean I knew what I was doing, right?


The truth is writing will never get easier. We might write faster, we might writer better, but crafting a good book never gets easier. If anything, just the opposite happens: It gets harder.

As beginners, we are perfectly content with throwing a scene together, excited to see our words becoming a real live story.. But then, we started studying our craft. -We started evolving as artists – and suddenly simply putting words on a page were no longer enough.  Suddenly our inner critic began reminding us that we had to focus on things like Story arcs, character development, plot structure, and pacing.  Our inner critics developed a voice.  Writing got a little tougher.

Along came rejections, critiques, and contest results.  Our inner critics got louder.  The efforts to make the book “right” became harder still.

Finally, we published.  Now, it’s not only our inner critic sitting on our shoulder, but every reader, reviewer and editor who ever commented on our work.  We see our contemporaries winning awards and garnering the praise we long to hear (while discounting our own successes, mind you, because that praise was for the last book – not the one we are currently slogging through).  We tackle more complex conflicts and we push ourselves as artists.  We raise our personal standards.  All of this makes for creating  the best book we can that much harder.

Oh, and by the way – while you are writing to higher standards, you’re doing it against the ticking clock of a deadline.  And don’t get me started about writing while balancing all the other responsibilities that come with your career.

I'm sorry.  Were you expecting a positive post?

Seriously, I am being positive.  Because you know what?  Writing is supposed to be hard.  Easy means that you aren't growing.  Easy means you're throwing the same old stuff on the page day after day after day.  If you're dedicated to having the best writing career possible - and most writers are - then you are continually pushing yourself to the next level.

This is true even if you're not actively challenging yourself.  Simply by honing your craft, you ensure the next story will be that much more challenging.  For the writer committed to staying on the writing roller coaster, hard is inevitable.

The great Theodore Roosevelt once said "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty...."  So I say embrace the suffering.  It means you’re doing something right.

Of course, you might think different.  Maybe I'm the only person in the world who thinks every book gets that much harder to write.  I invite you to weigh in below.  

Do you find writing harder as you gain experience? Or has it gotten easier?

Barbara Wallace is currently slogging through her fifteenth manuscript.  Her next published book is The Unexpected Honeymoon, due out in October from Harlequin Romance.  

A holiday to remember...

Widower Carlos Chavez manages La Joya del Mayan, the most romantic resort in Mexico. On good days, the romance passes unnoticed; on dark days, it only reminds him of his loss.

But the honeymoon suite's latest guest, Larissa Boyd, has rocked his steadfastness. Stunningly beautiful, she seems lost. And no wonder... she's on a honeymoon for one! 

The chemistry is instant - and their similarities run deep. Could it be that the two loneliest hearts in Mexico have found the most unexpected of places?

Amazon    Barnes & Noble   Book Depository

To find out more about the lovely Barbara and her writing, follow her on Facebook, Twitter or and visit her website


  1. I think it's harder, because you guess less--you know how it should be and you really have to struggle to attain it. I also think it's more fun.

    1. Liz - I think that's it exactly. You become far more discerning about what you put on the page because you know the difference between good writing and bad.

  2. I always find writing to be a real struggle - with fiction or otherwise - I obsess over scansion and making sure that everything is perfect, and as a result it takes me forever to finish anything!! But it's definitely worth it when I do.

    1. I said this on Twitter - I think there is a spectrum when it comes to writing ease. For some people, being able to write words without stressing is easy. On the other end are the people who struggle with every word. Most people fall in the middle. No matter where you are on the spectrum though, the task of getting the book to sound right to you gets more difficult as your knowledge increases. I feel your pain, Alicia. Totally feel your pain.

    2. Yeah, I saw! It's one of the things that I find really really difficult. Journalism and articles - for some reason - I find a hell of a lot easier. But I've yet to finish a book, despite the hundreds of hours I've put into a project. It always makes me look at those who can finish a project with great admiration!!

  3. I have views that some books have been easier to write than others - but then I remember the scenes that I went over and over and over again because they just weren't right, and I know I'm having myself on. They've all been hard! I

    1. Isn't also interesting how the scenes you are so sure stink read so different when they finally hit print? I sometimes have to double check to see if I wrote them because I can't believe they came from me. Perspective is definitely part of the battle. When you're in the middle of the book, you're too close to judge.

  4. Firstly, fifteen manuscripts?? Congratulations, that is a massive achievement!

    I too had the notion that writing would get easier, but I am definitely more critical of my own writing now than when I started. I try to view it as a positive thing, I'm critical because I care and because I want to grow. I agree with Avril, some books are harder than others - I live for the times when the words just flow!

  5. Great words of wisdom there. Balancing that is the sense of elation when you *know* it's all coming together.