Writing is Not Easy – It’s Magic

Welcome to The Learning Curve. This is where I chronicle my adventures as a new writer. The goal is to inspire you to put that bag of chips down, step away from the television, and tell the world a good story.

Writing is Not Easy – It’s Magic

Writing is not easy. Well, technically it is but most of you know what I mean. You’ve been there. The constant interruptions during writing time, or even trying to find the time to write, can be a chore. Why do we do it? God knows, it’s not for the money. If I just wanted people to see my name in print then I wouldn’t have an unlisted phone number. Not that this seems to matter much as I average one telemarketing call per day. Okay, that’s a different rant. My point is that writing is like having a second job. It’s work. It’s also magic.

Last month I talked about my writing journey over the previous year and offered the best advice I could for an author in training. I’ll presume you took the advice to heart and started building a support group. You will need one. There will be pitfalls along the way and challenges you can’t foresee. Believe it or not, you are the biggest obstacle in your way. You will need to overcome the desire to sit in front of another mindless episode of -> insert pointless reality show here <-. You will be tired from working all day and just want to relax. The list goes on. Just keep in mind that the only person keeping you from writing is you.

It all starts to sound rather depressing, but painting a rosy picture isn’t my job. The reality is simple. Instead of finding an excuse not to write, find a reason to put words on paper and then make it a habit. You will make mistakes. Expect it. Read through a years’ worth of this column and you’ll get an idea of some easy ones to avoid.

Are you still with me? Good. Now that you know writing is work and about as glamorous as having your name in a phone book, let’s talk about the magic. The world could use a little more magic.

Last month I started on a new writing project after shelving two unfinished manuscripts. For various reasons they lost their magic. You can read about it here if you’re interested. The important thing is I found a project that excited me more than anything else I’ve worked on, and I couldn’t wait to get started on it. Now, two weeks and 15k words into it the magic has returned.

What do I mean by magic? Good question. The magic is having characters in your head that are so interesting you think about them all day. There’s a good book on the nightstand you want to read, but not until you play out the next scene of your story and jot down a few notes of dialogue. When you’re in front of the computer writing one chapter and you immediately know where the next chapter, or the next scene is going. Sentences flow together, character voices fill your head and it’s a rush to get it all out. It’s magic. There’s nothing quite like it. Well, almost nothing.

I should also point out this magic is addictive. Once you fall into a world you’ve created, surrounded by characters you love, or love to hate, there’s no going back. American Idol will have lost a viewer.

Here’s my pitch to you, new author in training: Write a short story this month and post it somewhere. Connect with me on Facebook and share the link to it. I’ll give you honest feedback. My hope is to get you started, and then we’ll go from there.

Author: K.D. Rush

KD Rush is a South Carolina native currently working on several short stories and his debut novel, The Guild Inc., a supernatural thriller. He documents his writing journey at his blog, and here at Indies Unlimited in a monthly column called The Learning Curve. He also tweets daily at @KD_Rush.

25 thoughts on “Writing is Not Easy – It’s Magic”

    1. Great post as always, KD.

      Lynne, I’m reading a book on writing (self published by an author who has a long string of books and screenplays to his credit) where he made that claim, that writing creating endorphins. I wasn’t sure whether to believe it or not, but it sounds like you agree, so I will. 🙂

      1. Big Al, I totally agree. Writing, no doubt, creates endorphins. Think about those times that you can’t stop, something chemical, biological occurs. Awesome.

  1. Excellent post, KD.
    For a few years I had abandoned my writing for reasons I won’t elaborate here, and I’d say I am the worse for it. I resumed the writing almost 2 years ago, now treat it as my delightful-can’t-wait-to-get-back-to-it second job, and enjoy life. Who says that listening to the voices in your head (and writing down what they say) is a bad thing?

  2. I’m tempted to bookend my next book with a one-word prologue thay simply states “abracadabra” and an epilogue of “ta-da” :). Kidding aside, great post. The magic you speak of is essential in putting out inspired work. As a reader, you can tell when an author wrote with that magic.

  3. I call that being “in the zone”. It is magic. I’ll look up from my keyboard and hours have passed and I have thousands of words on the pages that I don’t remember writing. 🙂

    1. Jill, I typically write after my wife and children have gone to bed, usually before 10 PM. It’s amazing when I feel like I’ve only written for a few hours and find it’s after 3 or 4 in the morning. It makes for a long day at work, but at least I have a smile on my face.

  4. Great post KD,
    Love it. You must be inside my head. Set that alarm clock, get up an hour earlier. Whatever it takes. It is magic, and I don’t mean that it happens magically. It’s the feeling you get when you can’t stop. My wife goes around telling people that I don’t get writer’s block, that I have writer’s diarrhea.

    If you keep writing, sooner or later, it’ll happen to you. That magic.

    1. Writer’s Diarrhea! 🙂

      For the past few weeks it’s been really difficult to call it a day and walk away from the keyboard. I still make time for date night with my wife though. A little magic goes a long way.

  5. Smashing post, KD, well done. Yes, there is an element of magic, but it’s unique to every writer. I don’t any of us feel it quite the same way. Write on, brother.

    1. Thank you sir, and congratulations on your new book, Cascade Annihilator! I loved it, and now I’m counting the days before Lucas appears in our dimension again. Write on my friend.

  6. I agree wholeheartedly. I believe the magic of writing iswhat compels us to try to write. It’s the flow of imagination, the desire to think about ‘what ifs, the yearning to express our creativity.

    There is nothing like beginning (and continuing) with a story you believe in and characters who can’t wait to have their voices heard. In fact, it leads me to say: “oh what a feeling. What a rushhhhhhhhhh.”

    Great post as always, KD. Thanks bro ;)))

  7. KD, you’ve done a great job capturing the most elusive thing about writing, and it’s obvious that many of us have experienced it in our work. This is the thing that is so hard for non-writers to understand, but it’s what makes writing so fascinating (and addictive). Whenever I reach that point that the characters come alive, when they start doing and saying things I never dreamed of, when they start guiding the book in directions unknown to me, that’s when I know I’ve tapped into the magic. Readers know they often hang on every word to find out how it’s going to end–I wonder how many realize that writers often do the same thing! Great post.

  8. Excellent article, KD, and write on the money. When asked about the process of writing and how difficult it is, I always say the easier it is the better it is. The best times are when, just like reading a good book someone else has written, you’re excited and can’t write fast enough to see what’s going to happen next.

    1. Thanks T.D., and I wholeheartedly agree. Reading a good story is as close to the magic as you can get without actually writing it yourself. Cheers mate.

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