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Writing is hard. This is an oft repeated claim, or statement, or warning. And it is true for me, presumably for most. Writing is hard not because I have no ideas, or can’t find the words or have doubts about my ability and my prose. Writing is difficult and challenging because of all of these issues, but it is hard because in everyday life’s endless events and potential distractions, forcing myself to sit down regularly and just write is a constant struggle.

For some, I understand it may be easy to do this, to sit and want to write and then do so. At times it is, when the words flow, the ideas lurk in the background just waiting to be given form, but in general writing is a discipline and a habit that requires constant vigilance and constant tending. Finding the time isn’t hard. I am a father of two young children and I work full-time and I don’t leave the household chores to my wife, but I can easily, easily find time. There’s at least a half hour every day I could write. In half an hour I can write a page; a page a day is a novel a year. Writing is hard because I have to summon the will to sit myself down in that chair and let the words come. I have to turn off the TV, or close the book, or turn off the computer game, or any other easy ‘I’ve-just-worked-all-day-and-want-to-relax’ activity and write.

For some, it might be relaxing to write. It isn’t for me. It isn’t a chore, though it can feel like it. But it is a challenge and it requires discipline, not least because writing a novel is such a long-term project. There is nothing more insidious than the thought that not writing today doesn’t matter, not writing that page is irrelevant when it’s taken three years to get this far.

Writing is hard, and like any other discipline, if you do it anyway, the reward for achieving and completing that story, whether or not it ever makes its way out into the world, is that much greater.

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