This was first published in December of 2013. On our countdown of Most Read Blog Posts, it’s number 3, in which we look at the idea of reading for pleasure.
One of the hardest things about writing is learning to like what you are writing. Why should this be? I suspect it’s because you came to writing because you loved to read, loved good writing. So you know what good writing is. The process of writing, however, means that when you write, your writing is not, at first, going to be good. And you know it.
Nobody, nobody, writes anything well the first time. If anyone tells you otherwise, don’t believe it. As I often tell students, if you write something, and you think it’s good, you are in trouble. Write something and know it’s not very good, and you are on your way. This means that it is perfectly understandable that when you sit down to work, there’s an internal groan, a reluctance to engage. Why? Because you sense your work is no good. And you are right! It is only by pushing forward, with discipline, diligence, and yes, courage, that you can begin to shape your work into something you can respect, and eventually like.
My good friend and fine writer, Betty Miles, once confessed that it took her some six months working on a book before she felt like a writer. Learning to be patient with yourself—and your work—is obligatory for writers.