Guest Post: The Trouble With Being A Writer

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Note from Ada: This week and next I'm asking some of my bloggy friends to help fill the Of Woods and Words soundwaves. Today K. Syrah of Shoes Never Worn shares thoughts on the sometimes tortuous writing life. Enjoy!

As a Writer, I find that I spend two-thirds of the time waiting for inspiration to strike, and one-third actually writing.

It’s a method.

First, I go through agonizing hours of self-doubt and self-loathing, where my brain chants “Why are you trying to write? You have nothing to say! Who would read this drivel anyway? Just give up already, and work a normal job. You’re not Hemingway, Kerouac or Maya Angelou. Even those teen vampire books are better than what you’ve churned out…”

Then something snaps in my head, and I become a writing machine.

I’m K. Syrah, I blog at Shoes Never Worn, and I’ve just recently completed my first book, Carry Me Home, which is being published through Eat Your Serial.

The archetypal Writer is a procrastinating, self-loathing narcissist that paces around waiting for a ping from a muse, usually hate what they’re writing, but then push it out and insist that other people need to listen to what we say. It’s no peach finding stability in that; which is why, I assume, many literary genius’ fall into drug abuse and alcoholism.

We are passionate, often to addictive extremes, and thoughtful, often to the point where we detach from reality.

Yet, somewhere in that over-the-top archetype is something that others can relate to. Somewhere in that quirkiness is something people enjoy reading.

Art mimics life, but it never does so completely.

A photograph of Mount Everest taken from where the photographer stands will never capture its true magnitude. So we must force it; exaggerate it, make it ten times larger just to portray a sliver of what it is in real life. An actor on the stage must exaggerate the turn of the wrist or the raise of a brow to convey it to an audience. The same as it is in writing, where we must push the highs and lows to evoke the same emotion in our readers.

By nature, many writers feel deeper, think harder and empathize more than the average person just to do what we do.

The Writing Process, particularly my brand of it, can seem inefficient and eccentric to a linear, stable, reserved person. Well, even to me, the one going through this process, I see the ridiculousness in it, but sometimes, one can find inspiration in a chaotic room strewn with papers and notes.

Writing is a disorganized process; if you haven’t come to live with that, then you might be in for an unpleasant surprise.

And yet, through it all, most of us writers wouldn’t trade the agony for a normal, more obviously rewarding life, because this satisfies something in us. They say “writing’s easy, just open a vein”, and even after you pour your heart on paper, people will read and not understand, not care, or misinterpret because they have some personal vendetta against you.

But the world isn’t always so dark and dismal. Once in awhile, you’ll be read and understood, and in spite of the tantrums, sleepless nights, or red-wine soaked depressions, you’ll realize that you’ve done your job.
Then you’ll start the whole process again.


  1. I'm by far no professional writer, actually my blog probably contains more pictures than words BUT I find myself falling into the same patterns as you when I write. Sometimes I'm totally stuck and sometimes I'm like a machine. Whether or not what I'm writing is any good is the real question, lol. Thanks for the post! Checking out your blog now :)

  2. Great description of the writing experience.... thank you for the peek behind the curtain!

  3. It's so strange that while writing is mostly a solitary process, it seems to be the same for quite a few of us. I'm working on a future book, but for now my blog satisfies my need to reach out with words.

    Jill @ JunkyVagabond

  4. Thank you so much for posting this for me! You're wonderful!


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