I reject the notion that writing is hard.
It’s not hard. It takes time. Lots of time.
These are two different things.
In an earlier post I wrote that
Malcolm Gladwell has said
that for every hour he writes
he thinks about writing for three hours.
I also mentioned that
Elizabeth Gilbert has said that
she researches books for two to four years
before she would even dare to sit in front
of a blank page. She said something to the effect
that she wouldn’t do that to herself.
The writer, Steven Pressfield has said that
he writes for about four hours
Perhaps my favorite story is the one about
Leonard Cohen and his song Hallelujah.
He worked on it for five years.
One song. Five years.
Now don’t get me wrong.
It’s not that I would say
that writing is always easy.
All writers have good writing days
and bad writing days.
But this is true about
life in general.
It’s really hard
to have everyday
when doing anything
go perfectly well.
It just doesn’t happen.
The first sentence out of our mouth
or any creative process
or really most any important work
should be that
it takes time.
If we do,
We move away from
“I can’t write”
“My students can’t write”
“Writing takes time.
It takes time to
generate good ideas.
It takes time to
organize those ideas.
It takes time to see
if what I thought was a
good idea is really a good idea.
It takes time to say things clearly.
It takes time to think about your writing.
It takes time to share work
with others to receive feedback.
It takes time to process that feedback.
It takes lots of time to revise.
It takes time to edit.”
This is reality.
or any professional creative,
enormous amounts of time
to their craft.
Instead of spending our time
“Well, writing is hard”
Perhaps we should be saying
“Well, it takes time, lots of time, to write well
and to learn to write well.”
If we don’t,
we are dismissing
a simple reality.
Writing isn’t hard.
Having the time to write well is hard.
There is a difference.
We owe it to our students
to acknowledge it.