Writing’s Dirty Little Secret

So this is a blast from the past post from last year… but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately so I wanted to share it again!

When you tell someone you’re a writer usually you’ll get responses something like:

  • Oh, I’m going to write a novel once I retire/finish this year/get a vacation/etc.
  • A writer huh? You must not like eating.
  • A writer? Really? What do you do?
Or something like that. It all depends on where you are around when you drop the ‘w’ word. It seems that other writers usually fall into that last category…depending on how long they’ve been a writer.
But what I never realized, which probably says more about me than anything else, is that writing is hard work. It’s time-consuming, draining work to write the first draft and then you take all the hard work and slice it to ribbons in the editing process. I think writers have to be at least a little masochistic to stick with it.
Writing is not nearly as simple as many people think. The general consensus of outsiders seems to be that writing is a very simple task. “How hard can it be? You just put down some words and then someone pays you for them. Duh, easy.”
Oh imaginary person, if only. The writing process I think is best illustrated by this awesome graph I found on here. But just in case you’re not in a clicking mood, here’s the graph. Yes, this talks about Science writing, but I think it applies across theboard.
So, just remember. Writing is not a simple ‘Words + Me + ??? = Profit’ it’s more of a “Words + Internet + Me + You  – Them + Research + Outline – Outline + Outline 2 + ???? + (&Y*&BPU(P&%RO*^YGOY = First Draft. Repeat process for draft 2”


  1. randallweiss Said:

    The secret is out, but the non-writers still won’t believe us. Nice chart, but I don’t think the lows are low enough.

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