Thursday, July 9, 2015


Čeština: Budapešť, socha neznámého (Writer in Budapest) by Dezidor

Writing is hard.

Writing is hard when
ideas get stuck
in the crowded funnel
interrupting or stopping
the easy flow of words

Writing is hard
when ideas get stuck
in the tunnel carrying our words
from our heart to our brain
to your ears  and your eyes... and beyond.

We are not being honest
when we portray writing
as an easy thing
or when we think writers are just sitting
at a table or a desk,
somewhere in a cozy retreat with a view
churning out pages
and pages
and pages

every now and then
to take a walk
to smell the lilacs
to sip their bourbon
and feed their dogs
while words are sparring
offering themselves
to be first from the pen
or onto the screen.

Writing is hard.

Words are scratched
from the dirt,
once fertile
now famine dry

Words are ground
between our teeth
as we chew and reject
taste and spit out
or swallow whole
missing the savory flavor
for which we search

Writing is hard.
we sit still ...waiting
for an angle, a hook, word
to follow another
to follow another...

Writing is hard.

In June, I  spent two weeks with  a group teachers from the Columbus Area Writing Project, engaged in the hard work of writing,  I wrote beside these fellow teachers as they were also engaged in that same hard work.

We were remembering and examining our lives as teachers, retelling and  reflecting our journeys--including the highs and the lows, the warts and the beauty marks, the inevitable failures and the great moments of success.

As we wrote, we recognized patterns and echoes woven through our stories, individually and collectively.

We identified turning points and  critical moments that split time into a before and an after.

We cried and laughed as we narrated the complexities and messiness of the personal lives that backgrounded our equally complex  and messy teaching lives.

We marveled  at how we had survived --and arrived  at our present points, our current pages in our stories.

Writing is hard.

We got stuck between words sometimes...  sandwiched between too many memories  or trying to push out that one irretrievable nugget.

 Time stood still when we were in the moment  and words were tumbling over each other like waterfalls in hidden tropical caves splashing onto the pages in fresh satisfying drops.

Time raced as deadlines loomed and words deadlocked in the recesses of our blocked writing brains.

Writing is hard.

We offered our pages to the group--  holy sacrifice and sacrament.

We mourned when they suggested a word, a sentence,  a paragraph needed to be changed, reworded--- or even deleted.

We worked to shape nuances and tones and moods.

We modified the  irreverent, and politically incorrect. Our task was to share and reveal, not offend and negatively provoke.

We walked and snacked on nuts and fruit. We sipped water and coffee and an occasional soft drink.

We talked quietly.  We sat... alone.    We sat.... in company

And. we wrote...

Writing is hard.

In a previous post, Writing Wells: Writing Ideas for When the Well is Dry, I offered  ways to get started writing when the ideas are not flowing.   You may find inspiration there for when writing is hard.

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have long carried columns in which writers have shared their lives, their processes, their worries and their joys, as well as the hardships and difficulties of living  their writer's lives.

Both editors of these columns, John Darnton and Marie Arana,  have published collections  of the columns, which may  serve as companions on your own writing journey.


 If you are looking for lighter inspiration spinning the The Wheel of Process at The Book Architect site  may  be just the ticket  for those days when showing up at the computer, the typewriter, the page  is just not enough.

This unique feature offers 40 articles on writing "from inception through editing through completion."   Their seven articles on writer's block may just what you need to jolt you back into productive composing.

Some days... nothing works... and we just have to acknowledge it.

Writing is hard.

Today's Deeper Writing Possibilities

When has writing been hard for you?  

Reflect on a piece that you are currently involved in writing.

What has been most difficult so far?  How did you work through, write through the hard parts?

Write a poem about writing this particular piece or about your writing life.


  1. Thank you for sharing your journey as well as the group of writers, I know from talking to a fee it was a huge learning week and celebrations.

  2. Thanks for you kind words, Maria. I am hoping that at some point you will join CAWP and add your voice to our chorus :-) When you are ready......