Why Writers Hate Writing and What We Can Do About It

girl with bookWriters hate writing, right? It’s true. We can’t stand it.

A lot of beginning writers think that hating writing means they shouldn’t be writers. I generally think it means they should. I’ve never totally figured it out, but I believe we hate writing because we love it so much. Like, we want it to be good. We know what we want it to be. Why doesn’t it just come out the way we want it to be? This is related to what Ira Glass says is the gap between our standards and how our first drafts look:

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.

So we have to keep writing. It’s the only answer. Writers write. Keep writing until the gap narrows. It will.

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9 comments

  1. Is that really true, that writers hate writing? I have heard of writer’s block, but I have never heard a writer say they hate writing. I am a fairly new writer, and I am still learning, but I absolutely love it!
    Since I started, I can’t seem to stop, as if there is an invisible force compelling me to do it. Every morning I sit down with a vague idea of a topic and get into this special place where it writes itself, it just pours itself out.
    And when I finish, I am amazed what came out, and it feels great, then I can go about the rest of my day feeling really happy, maybe I am not that good (yet), but I can’t hate it, I love it 🙂
    Actually, I had the struggles you describe above with my painting, it was a very frustrating process, it never came out the way I envisioned it, I struggled. Writing allows be to be creative without those struggles, who knows it might help me to find a way back to painting one day.
    Have a great day! Gia

    1. Well, I’m glad you’re liking it right now! I think it’s actually more that we go through phases and we only notice when we hate it. And it feels like a lot of hating when you add it up over a lifetime. 🙂

      1. I understand. We will see, I do hope that it doesn’t happen to me, because I do not want to hate writing ever. I do not want to loose the “zone” I am in right now 🙂

  2. I think why I hate writing is that those ‘in the zone’ episodes of creativity when your imagination is firing at the upper-most levels are far and in between. There is no narcotic or amphetamine that can replicate the high from a writer’s inspiration. So when I’m not in the zone, which happens more often than not, dredging the imagery and the words from out of a subconscious on lock down is more of a chore.

  3. I do not hate writing and i do not give a flying fuck wether my writing is liked or not, i write cos i like writing. i am not looking for praise, money or anything. i just write for me

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