I often talk about the good parts of writing on here. The things that make it worth it, and the things that bring us writers together. But writing is not just one big wonderful ball of enjoyment and pleasure. There are aspects of it that I would liken to psychological torture, or perhaps, for the less dramatic, the sound of nails on a chalkboard.
Some of the things that I most abhor about being a professional writer include:
Editing my own work. Seriously, it’s the worst. Once I write something, I want to publish it and be done. I don’t want to look it over, and I really don’t want to read it more than once. As a writer, though, I can’t do it. To pass it off to another editor or writer without even giving it a once over would be quite rude.
Of course, editing the work of someone else is a different beast that I actually enjoy. I would describe it as being like an Easter egg hunt, in that I know there are errors somewhere, I just have to find them.
Writing short copy. Oh, the agony! I find it so boring to sit and think of five different ways to say the same sentence or phrase. I’m good at it, and when it’s done I feel satisfied for having said something in the best way that it could be said, but I really can’t say that I enjoy the process itself. It’s like fishing in a way, waiting for the perfect wording to come to you, baiting it with lesser words and combinations. Hoping something bigger bites so that you don’t end up leaving the office knowing you could have done better.
Finding clients. I haven’t done much of this in a long time, but when this was a focus of my every day life, I found it to be so daunting. I guess I am just better suited to having employment contracts as opposed to relying completely on what business I can drum up.
Writing poorly because that’s what someone else wants. Sometimes clients and employers want what they want. Sometimes, that means writing content that you don’t want to, or writing content in a way that you don’t want to. Sometimes clients may want something that isn’t grammatically correct because it looks or sounds better. Sometimes they want you to mask some tricky marketing message with a bunch of fluff. A sad reality is that your writing may not always be something that you are proud of.
Writer’s block. Thankfully this doesn’t happen to me too often, but when it does I feel like a useless lump. It happened to me today, but I forced myself to write because that what we have to do. The fairy tale notion that movies portray of writers doing what they want to most of the time, and then sitting down one evening, apparently inspired, to write a bestseller is ridiculous. Many of us don’t have the luxury of choosing when we write, but do it either because it’s the only time we have, or because we are paid to do things by deadlines.
Running out of books. Lastly, and this is one that I am suffering from at this very moment, having nothing to read. I have reread everything on my shelf at least once, I have no book orders on the way, and anything that I actually do want to read is packed away in another province out of my reach. I haven’t seen anything I want to pick up lately, and I haven’t received any recommendations that I really wanted to pursue for some time. I’m really just craving a long series or the release of paperback versions of new books that I want to read. It makes me feel like I am in purgatory and it’s quite unpleasant.
I am certain that not all of you will have the same list of negatives as I do. If you did, the writing profession would certainly be a dull and boring thing.
So, what do you dislike the most about writing? Does it change based on how your writing is going?
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