Writing is difficult.
Despite that, I have written professionally my entire career.
I wrote newspaper and magazine articles in college and a few weeks after graduation got a job as a newspaper reporter. After that, I was a newspaper editor and reporter. As a radio reporter I wrote news stories and did the news broadcast every hour.
I’ve written freelance articles, releases, radio and television commercials, scripts, and speeches.
I wrote and published a couple of books and wrote and delivered a few hundred sermons and public presentations.
I have managed to eek out a minimal, marginal, middle-class lifestyle by slapping words together, and it’s nearly always been a difficult, often frustrating struggle.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the difference between the right word and almost the right word is like the difference between ice water and sea water.
The right word is often elusive and I settle for close to the right word.
I feel that it’s only in the past five or six years that I’ve gotten to be any good at writing, and have become more successful at finding the right words.
“Good writing is rewriting,” writer Walter Mosley told me.
Rewriting is often the difference between good writing and just typing. Writing is hard, rewriting is harder, and it all gets more difficult with more words.
In addition to my day job, and writing a blog with thousands of readers a month, I’m working on rewrites of a novel and the first drafts of a novel trilogy. It’s all difficult.
After writing an entire novel, for it to be any good, the entire novel has to be rewritten. And then rewritten again. All the while, it’s brutal and difficult to find exactly the right words.
For example, here’s the original paragraph:
As he worked his way through the crowd, several people slapped Jason’s back and spoke to him. He nodded bashfully as he approached Adam and Faith. Jason exchanged looks with each of them, and after a moment, wordlessly, the three walked away.
He worked his way through the crowd, excited words and back slaps raining down on him. Nodding bashfully as he approached Adam and Faith, Jason exchanged wordless looks with them, and after a moment, the three walked away.
Here it is rewritten further:
He worked his way through the crowd, excited words and back slaps pouring down on him like a strong summer shower. Nodding bashfully as he approached Adam and Faith, the three shared wordless looks, and after a moment, walked away.
I honestly can’t tell if that’s as good as it can be.
The entire process is maddening.
I have to rewrite more than 65,000 words, some extensively, to get the manuscript to a quality that can compete in the marketplace of ideas.
Every aspect of writing is difficult.
“You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.” — Red Smith
Here’s a link to a short passage of my novel, Faith, Hope, and Baseball: A Novel.