Why I hate writing, Part 3

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Back in July, I wrote two posts, Why I hate writing, and Why I hate writing, Part 2. Lots of responses to those posts, mostly because I think I really touched a nerve with so many writers. But those posts didn’t really get to the heart of why I truly hate writing.

Do you know what I really about hate writing?

Sometimes writing hurts.

Unlike many writers, I’m not an introvert. I love being around people. Always have. But writing requires a significant amount of time alone. I don’t mind being alone. As much as I love people, I enjoy solitude as well.

But the process of writing is different. What is it about putting your honest thoughts on a page that is so intimidating? As I typed that last sentence, I felt (still feel) physically exposed, afraid to share too much of myself with you. I consider myself a confident person, but writing strips away my confidence to a great degree. I think it’s because writing requires a good amount of self examination. And honestly? There’s a lot of hurts that haven’t healed and a bunch of ugly crap I suppose I’ve never really had to examine until I faced a blank page.

Is it any wonder many writers suffer with bouts of depression? A friend of mine put it this way, “Ignorance of your state of being and all that is bliss!!! But it also seems to be unacceptable.”

True. It is unacceptable. So we keep going. We pierce the vein with our pens and hope whatever poisons flow out can help the healing process–our own and, should we be so fortunate, those who read our words.

Am I out in left field here? There is great joy in writing, no doubt. But does writing ever make you feel sad?

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20 Responses to “Why I hate writing, Part 3”

  1. kelybreez October 1, 2010 at 12:47 am #

    Honestly, it’s when I feel the pain and the ache of beauty… That’s when the sadness feels like I’m really feeling something deeply enough to start writing. It’s almost like it is stirring something inside, stirring a little too fast & aggressively for comfort. Hard to explain.

  2. Jake October 1, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    Anyone who claims that writing makes them happy 1) is a liar 2) writes comedy and doesn’t suck at it 3) is an idiot.

    I’m afraid to focus on the morose thoughts when I write because I don’t want my writing to be excessively indulgent, but at the same time, I don’t want it to be fake, either. I think I desire to know what’s wrong with me, but understanding it doesn’t make it any better at all! SO what do we do? I’m not sure. I think I need a beer. Wonderful post lady, I really appreciate you!

    • Sharkbait October 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

      Well, since I don’t really write comedy very well, I guess I’m still trying to figure out if I’m an idiot or a liar. (Or were you calling me both?)

      Not sure I really like your options here. Can’t there be a (d) None of the above? To cover those of us who acknowledge that
      i) Writing, real writing can hurt;
      ii)Real writing can also heal;
      iii) Writing can make us happy;
      iv) It is self-indulgent to think that just because we’re not suffering, we’re doing something wrong.

      Sorry. Maybe it’s different for us FISH. We still think that sometimes GOD asks us to do things that might not be all about hurting us.

      • katdish October 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

        Hello, my fishy friend! No, I don’t think it’s an either/or scenario. I think some of my best (and certainly my most read) writing is humorous and makes me happy to write. I don’t think God asks us to do things to hurt us. I think we do things to hurt ourselves sometimes. For me, it’s writing about those things that hurt, and hopefully help heal in the process.

  3. Doug Spurling October 1, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    Writing – real writing hurts…and heals. – Writing from the heart is heart wrenching and cleansing to the reader and writer as well… And you do it well – thanks.

  4. Cassandra Frear October 1, 2010 at 8:15 am #

    My struggle exactly this past week. I love writing. But what God showed me this past week was very uncomfortable.

    My response: “Do I really want to do that? Be that?”

    Do I really want God to use my life like a parable? It’s very uncomfortable. But I believe we help each other most by telling our stories. Or I wouldn’t be here.

    Sigh.

  5. Candy October 1, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    Writing doesn’t really make me feel sad, but I tend to write the best when I am. Most of that stuff never leaves my journal.

    Analyze that.

  6. Annie K October 1, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    Sometimes I’ve been at a point of hurting too much to write – my brain and heart just won’t cooperate and allow me to put anything on that blank page.

    And I’ll agree with Candy in that some of my best stuff was written during the tough times.

  7. Robin M Arnold October 1, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    Why shouldn’t writing be like any other job or calling in this life? Sadness, difficulty, and challenges, as well as happiness, joy, even silliness, are the personal ingredients to personal style. If I didn’t have my stuff, I’d write just like you and you’d write like me. We might not ever know in this lifetime whether anything we wrote made a difference. That’s a reality and a responsibility, and I think part of the maturing process. So really, when we feel sad, etc, we need to more think of it as a growing pain, and evidence of new wisdom and wider talent.

  8. Megan Willome October 1, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    Sure, there’s some sadness, but there isn’t only sadness. I don’t feel like the deepest part of my being is sadness–it’s joy. I think my highest calling is when I can make people laugh, often by sharing my weakest weaknesses.

  9. Melissa Brotherton October 1, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    Writing causes me to doubt who I am, feel rejected and alone, and overanalyze the faults in my life.

    Writing strengthens who I know He is, brings me community I would not have otherwise have found, and shows me the depth of grace I’ve received.

  10. HisFireFly October 1, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    Amen Kat!

    Writing at its best hurts in ways nothing else can. Turning yourself inside out for the world to watch takes courage, boldness and a whole lot of madness!

  11. Tony Alicea October 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    Absolutely it hurts. Writing is intensely introspective but I’m an introvert and naturally introspective. I think writing simply exacerbates the process. However, writing is extremely rewarding so it is one of those “hurts so good” exercises for me.

    Interesting perspective from an extrovert like yourself. Thanks for sharing.

  12. jasonS October 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    I wrote about my dad’s death over the summer and it was so hard and painful, but out of it, I feel more healing than I’ve ever known. Yes, it hurts, but I also don’t think we stay there. In God, there is a purpose and good end to it all.

    Thanks Kat. Great post.

  13. Sandra Heska King October 1, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Yep, it hurts. Sometimes it’s like being “elbow deep in belly blood.” (Remember I was a surgical nurse, and my husband says nurses aren’t happy unless they’re elbow deep in blood.)

    There’s the opening, the digging, the cutting . . .

    Or maybe it’s like having a C-section after going through all the labor.

    Anyway, in the pain there’s healing for us and for others.

  14. Sharkbait October 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    I think part of the problem is that writing often usually leads to truth. And truth is often not pretty, and can be painful at first.

    But as a (bad) writer, I often find that one of the biggest misconceptions is that writing is supposed to hurt. People seem to think that writing leads to depression, alcoholism, anti-social tendencies, suicide and poverty. At some point in history we stopped giving artists permission to be fulfilled and happy with their art.

    I fight this in my writing class, I fight this in my writers groups, I fight this every time I try to convince someone that writing is not selfish and pointless, and to give themselves permission to try it.

    The writing we do, often is about “piercing a vein to let the poison out”. And thus often is painful, and necessary.

    But it is dangerous, I think, to start thinking that because it is painful and necessary, that the pain is necessary.

    • katdish October 4, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

      Ah, Sharkbait. You’re not a bad writer. If you were, you wouldn’t be on my blogroll, no matter how amusing I think your obesession with Finding Nemo is.

  15. V.V. Denman October 2, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    When we walk out the door, we allow people to see what we look like on the outside. When we speak, we allow them a peek at what we’re thinking. But when we write, we’re letting them see inside our brains. How they work, what we feel, how we might be messed up inside.

  16. Lynn Mosher October 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    You are so right, Kat! Writing does sometimes hurt! Great post! Blessings to you! 😀

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    […] week I wrote a post about why I hate writing. In a nutshell, I wrote that I hate writing because sometimes writing hurts. Self examination and […]

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