read whine

On WritingIf you spend any time listening to what writers say about the writing process, at some point you’re likely to ask yourself, “Are all these people just whiners?”

It’s a fair question. We writers are fond of talking about the challenges of writing.

“It’s hard,” we say. “So very, very hard. ”

“Why is it hard?” you ask.

“Because!” we exclaim. “I sit down and stare at a blank screen and that damn little cursor. It taunts me, blinking like a madman, daring me to say something. And I have all these thoughts, you know? All this stuff floating around in my head, but when I sit down to write, it’s hard to bring it to the page. And sometimes, I don’t know what to write! Sometimes, I know I want to write, but I don’t want to write at the same time. It’s this battle raging inside me, and I feel torn in two. Torn! So I do it. I sit there, sometimes for hours and I write, and then, when I’m done, sometimes people don’t like what I wrote. And then I have to listen to them criticize my baby. It’s a part of me, but they just stomp on it, and it hurts my soul. Seriously, you have no idea how hard it is.”

You roll your eyes. (I can feel it. I feel you rolling them now.)

“So,” you say. “It’s work and you can’t always make everyone happy?”

Yes!” we exclaim.

“Um…” You drawn out the non-word, debating between being sharply candid or frank-but-gentle. You settle on the second. “That’s kind of life. Everyone deals with that.”

We huff, as if to say, “Not like us! Nothing like us!”

What can I say? We’re writers. We like drama.

But here’s the thing. Years ago, I went on a hike. Not a day hike. Not a 2 hour outing. A real excursion. It lasted 4 days. About halfway through day 1, trudging back and forth up a steep bank of switchbacks, I discovered something about hiking: it’s both ridiculously easy and agonizingly hard.

Hiking is walking. If you can take a step, you can hike. It’s not rocket science.

But the hard part of hiking is this: if you only take one step, you’re not hiking. To hike, you have to keep taking steps. That’s how you climb a mountain.

That’s what writing’s like. No, in essence, it’s not really all that hard, and for that reason a lot of non-writers listen to us wail about the trials and tribulations of the writing process and struggle to maintain straight faces. Everyone writes something, even if it’s just the occasional text message. It’s not like we’re doing something only a handful of people in the world possess an elite skill set to accomplish.

What makes it hard is that we don’t pound out 140 characters and stop. We keep going.

To tell the truth, writing’s not hard. Continuing to write, that’s the hard part. Harder than you’d think. In fact, it’s kind of like climbing a mental mountain.

So, if you’re a writer, whine away. I mean, don’t go overboard with it, but the occasional vent session is good for you. And if you’re a friend of a writer, stop making faces when he/she complains about how hard writing is. We complain because it is hard. No bullshit.

Of course, it’s also fun. That’s why we keep at it. I’m not really sure why people hike.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

8 Responses to read whine

  1. diannegray says:

    I LOVE this post, Dex – so very clever 😀 Tweeting it now

    Liked by 1 person

    • dex says:

      Thanks, Diane — for the compliment and the tweet. 🙂

      I enjoyed writing this. It was a very stream-of-consciousness experience. lol


  2. P. C. Zick says:

    Excellent, Dex, and so true. I noticed recently when I had company that twice, when I said I needed to go up to my office and work, the response was “Work!?” as if what I did at my computer wasn’t really work. And it’s so true that it just takes one step, one word to begin. And then it takes another.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dex says:

      Sadly, English doesn’t really have a tense for “continuing to…” like some other languages do, but that’s the key difference between a writer and someone who sometimes writes something down. Writers keep writing!


  3. tristdagon says:

    Love this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Where do I begin? The title? The analogy? The style? The truth?

    I LOVE this post. I’m with Dianne….off to tweet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • dex says:

      Thank you! I had a ton of fun writing it. I didn’t even worry about structure or style, really. Just sort of free-flow. I’m thrilled that it connects with other writers.


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