Why Does Writing Have to Seem So Hard?

old typewriterOLD TYPEWRITER – photo courtesy Pixabay

When you’re having a difficult time writing and the words you want just don’t seem to find their way out of your head, you sometimes ask yourself … what’s the point?

I thought I was past my momentary writers block … but after only 1,500-or-so words I got stuck again this week.

No problem, right? I’ve been there before and worked my way out of it. The words eventually start flowing again.

So, I brewed a second cup of coffee, took a deep breath and stared at my computer screen. Typed a sentence. Deleted it.

Sipped my coffee. Wrote a new sentence and almost immediately deleted it. Paused. Rubbed my eyes. Scratched my head. Typed a third sentence. Deleted that one, too.

Repeated the whole sequence many times in the course of the next two hours and got some results I kept … a total of 27 words.

Less than one-quarter of a word per minute. Oh well. Been there, done that. I know it will eventually click. I just hope it does before my self-imposed deadline gets here.

At least I’m more environmentally conscious these days. I used to do all this using reams of paper.

Writing, ripping sheets from the platen and tossing crumpled paper pages from an old Royal or Smith-Corona until the wastebasket overflowed and threatened to engulf the room.

Royal? Smith-Corona?

You know, one of those tools youngsters only see these days in retro films (or in their grandparents’ closets). A typewriter.

Now I use a laptop. No paper waste, but the writer’s block is still writer’s block.


Most days, my desk is the kitchen table. I sit there (fortunately close to the coffee) pattering out whatever thoughts come into my head. Sometimes they actually coalesce in the form of a story.

Other times they’re solipsistic, self-centered ramblings that don’t make sense later even to me.

But when my thoughts fail to come together over a story it often feels like my characters all suddenly seem flawed and unlikable. Or sometimes not flawed enough.

At the same time, my story doesn’t seem to go anywhere … or it goes in too many directions at once.

If you self-publish, like I do, even when the words do come you can’t take it easy. There are so many other things you have to worry about.

Getting reviews. Managing your web site. Connecting with other writers. Maintaining a blog. Connecting with other readers. Posting Facebook messages. Crafting clever Twitter messages. Creating Goodreads giveaways. Designing business cards.

Building refrigerator magnets with my name on them (I don’t really do that … I just wanted to see if you were listening).

Not to mention trying to sell copies of the books I’ve written. That I do all the time.

Those are the times I’m most likely to ask myself … what the hell’s the point? Why do I work so hard at this blasted thing called writing? After all, I had a long career and retired. I’m supposed to relax and take it easy. Right?

Instead, I keep showing up, even with all my doubt, despair and anxiety over words that continue to seem slippery and elusive.

Sometimes getting the words right feels like I’m trying to push the Earth out of its orbit. Yet, I keep working at it. I bring it all to the page and keep pushing.


In all honesty, I don’t have any alternative. I’m a writer, so I show up and write … and hope for the best.



My books have garnered some terrific reviews. You can see the stories I have available by using the Amazon link below.

buy now amazon

You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.


Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

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2 Responses to “Why Does Writing Have to Seem So Hard?”

  1. James Sloan Says:

    Sounds like you need to spend more time watching your grandkids…. Then you won’t mind staring blindly into s computer screen and enjoying the “quiet” time to at least consider a creative sentence.

    Best regards jes

    Liked by 1 person

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