Writing Isn’t Hard


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

about writing,

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.


Professional writers

or any professional creative,

dedicate enormous,

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

and ourselves

to acknowledge it.


Trevor (@trevorabryan)

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