Every few months I’ll be reading something and I’ll have this full stop epiphany moment where I’ll say to myself…
Somebody just made this up and wrote it down.
And I almost feel a bit betrayed for a second and then I immediately think…
I could just make up any old random thing and write it down.
This happens about an equal number of times if I’m reading something I’m enjoying or something I think is awful. It’s just this record scratch, hold everything kind of moment where I realize that’s all that’s going on here. People making stuff up and putting it down on paper and what’s stopping me from doing that too?
For a moment, I sit there, the book or comic I was reading forgotten. Because why can’t I just do that with every random idea that comes into my head? The whole long list of story ideas I’ve been collecting since I was a kid, why can’t I just convert them all into words just like this person did? Suddenly the whole world seems shiny and new and full of glorious writing possibilities!
And this doesn’t seem like much of an epiphany, but I find myself realizing it over and over again and having that realization reinvigorate me each time because the thing it’s very easy to overlook about writing when you’re in the thick of a writing life of drafts and deadlines and revisions is…
It really is that easy.
You get an idea. You write it down. The end.
Of course, it’s also NOT that easy.
There’s finding the time and will to write, there’s writing it wrong over and over so you can write it right, there are fears and doubts all screaming over the story in your head and there’s life with all it’s unexpected twists and turns getting in the way of the fictional world you’re trying to build. There are the battles you need to fight in your own head to get the ideas to paper and the battles you fight with the story itself to squish those wild ideas from your brain into something coherently text shaped you can actually do something with. There’s the art balanced with the business and the industry around you morphing, the market oozing influence on what you write whether you like it or not. There are kids to feed and bills to pay and medicine to take and the whole world quietly burning around you and none of these are part of writing but they are all piled on your back for the journey anyway.
You have to keep making words in the face of all THAT.
It really is that hard.
But also that easy.
And sometimes it’s helpful to remember that.
Writing is making something up and writing it down.
It’s that easy.
It’s that hard.
And the only thing that’s standing between any of us and every idea we’ve ever wanted to share being out in the world is the act of writing itself.
So I suppose we ought to get down to it.