I sometimes hear people say, “I hate to write!” But I don’t believe it. Writing is really just the surrogate issue. You most likely have another issue that you are wrestling with and writing brings it out.
I am of the opinion that everyone should write, and that the only way to get better at writing is through deliberate practice. Yes, I know some people are talented writers, but I also know that natural, raw talent is one of the most wasted resources on earth.
Talent alone does not a writer make, or a painter, or a skier, or a driver, or a mom, or anything. You can’t develop talent without motivation, and you can’t have motivation without hope. I also believe that you can develop and even create talent through hard work, but you won’t work without hope.
Here then are three reasons why you hate to write. There are more reasons, but I’ll keep with three for now.
The more you reject these ideas, the more likely you will continue to hate writing; the more you understand them and embrace them, the more likely your writing will get better. And better and better.
1. You are afraid of sharing yourself and who you really are with the world.
Fear keeps people in check. It keeps them in hiding, even hiding from themselves, because they are afraid to know who they really are. You are ashamed to show up because someone might point a finger at you and ridicule you. But that is inevitable. Someone is going to rise up and tell you that your writing—or your fill-in-the-blank—is stupid and that you are terrible. But why should you believe such nonsense? You believe it because you’re giving someone else more authority than they deserve. Fire your critics. Send them packing. Especially the ones that only exist in your imagination—”for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2). However, the more ardent your critics are, the more likely you are on the right track. Fear is your friend if you know what it really is. You have something valuable to say, something that will change other people’s lives. What you have to say is part of who you really are. So say it. Please say it. The world is looking for the real you to show up.
2. You are a perfectionist.
Because you are afraid of what your critics, real or imagined, might say, you strive too hard for perfection. That takes a long time and a lot of energy. Do you even really know what perfection looks like? I don’t. I know what better looks like, but not perfection. Integrity is a different thing, and taking time to do your best work is showing integrity. If you are embalmed by perfectionism, you can’t live. If you are frozen by perfectionism, you won’t grow. You can’t grow and you won’t learn. Not very fast, anyway. You won’t share yourself either, not fully.
3. You are impatient so you want your writing to be finished on the first try.
Think of your ideas as seeds, and your story as a field. In order for those seeds to grow, you need plenty of rain. Each time you touch a key on your keyboard, it’s like a drop of rain on your field. In writing, the more you rain on your field, the better. That’s deliberate practice. So keep at it. Nothing grows in a drought, least of all your talents and skills. Don’t expect your piece to be finished on the first try, no more than you are ready to receive a college degree on the first day of classes. Getting words right takes time, and it is always worth the time. It takes a million keystrokes to write a book, and many million more to write a good one. It takes time and patience.
The only obstacle to good writing is time and you. Allowing fear, perfectionism, and impatience to overthrow your writing is your choice. You control the weather of your mind, so don’t blame others for the storm in your heart. Until you let your real self out of the trenches, you will be at war with yourself. As long as you wait for perfection to arrive, you will never find it and you will remain in hiding behind your TV remote. As long as your umbrella is up, turning every which way to shield your seeds from rain, your field will lie fallow.
Be yourself. Express yourself. Be true to yourself and others. Be patient with yourself. Above all else, accept and love yourself. And let it rain.