I would love to be able to spew out a piece of writing with the ease Pro Hart seemed to produce ‘Bicentennial Cannon Painting’

Yes, I’m exhausted. And not because it’s almost Christmas, which is when I become the Grinch because like most wives and mothers, Christmas stretches us to our limits of patience, multi-tasking prowess, and funding. Nor is it because I’ve been meeting the mad deadlines clients throw at me before Christmas. I’m exhausted because in addition to my usual editing and proofreading projects, I’ve been working on a ghost-writing project.

It occurred to me that writing was to blame for my fatigue when I finished writing the latest chapter last Saturday (like many small business owners, weekends off are non-existent at this time of year). That’s not to say I’m not enjoying the project – I am, very much. It’s interesting and challenging, and my client is great. But writing is damn hard work! Here’s five reasons why:

  1. Putting fingers to keyboard can be terrifying – and procrastination doesn’t help. I suspect being a far more experienced editor than I am a writer, imposter syndrome creeps in and I am paralysed by the fear of writing, well, crap. What’s the solution for this? Feel the fear and do it anyway.
  2. Feedback is scary too. Handing your writing over to someone else to read is nerve-wracking; now I know how a writer feels when they send me their first manuscript for assessment. And that’s just the first step. It’s returned with feedback, then there’s possible rewriting, self-editing, and then more feedback and more editing … now I know why some clients tell me they will never be 100% happy with their book. There’s always ‘something’ that can be fixed. Writing is not for perfectionists (although editing and proofreading are, of course).
  3. The product of a ‘brain dump’ needs reorganisation. I would love to be able to spew out a piece of writing with the ease Pro Hart seemed to produce ‘Bicentennial Cannon Painting’. If this painting were a book, nobody would be able to read it. So, it’s fine to brain dump thoughts onto paper or screen, but then they need to be organised into something coherent. No easy task.
  4. Fact checking, reading and research all take time. Everything I write must be believable, factual, and backed up with references (this is a non-fiction project). It can’t just be pie in the sky.
  5. I am first and foremost an editor, so I naturally overthink everything. It’s not enough for me to just write a paragraph or two. I look at the sentence structure, grammar, spelling, punctuation – the whole kit and caboodle.

Perhaps it’s just the Grinch in me that finds writing so exhausting. After all, I found the time and energy to write this article, didn’t I?

Do you find writing tiring, liberating, easy, hard? And if so, why? Do some types of writing take more effort than others? Let’s hear your writing experiences.

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