I recently saw this in an article. “As every author says, it’s not the actual writing process that is the most arduous, it’s the editing”.
First off, don’t speak for every author. It’s arrogant, ignorant, and incredibly rude and disrespectful to speak for people you have never met, so technically, it’s nothing but a bald-faced lie and makes you a liar.
Back to the post. I saw it in an article from a few years ago that came back around in my feed and I thought. Bull.fucking.shit it is.
While ideas have always come quite easily, it’s the physical nature that I have always found the most arduous.
The actual physicality of writing. Handwriting. Yep, old-fashioned me still handwrites novels and short stories. I did get bored last year from taking so long writing my novel Anything for You, so I took to typing words every day. But this year, we’re back to handwriting because I want that personal mind hand connection so many big-name authors talk about. Margaret Attwood for one. She mentions it in a video on Masterclass.
Once my book is typed up, which is a little easier on the old body, (although the neck gets stiff from looking down at the notebook and keyboard), things grow easier still.
And then we come to editing. So freaking easy. I much prefer editing, although again, it can be a lengthy process which can wear you out physically, but technically, for me, editing is the easiest thing to do.
But I also experienced burnout and found that made things even worse.
From the very beginning, in 2006, when I wrote my first novel, once I got the flow happening it came like a movie. Many authors say this. That it plays like a movie in their heads. It’s true for me.
Many novels, novellas, short stories and non-fiction came so easily after that, until burnout, which started in 2019. After that, writing actually became even harder than usual because I was so worn out.
I was mentally and physically exhausted from everything going on in my life and trying to get a novel, and short stories out every year over the period of 2019-2020 was incredibly difficult. I wrote an extra 45,000+ words for the 5th Porn Star Bothers novel, and wrote the 6th in 2019 plus that year’s T.K. Wrathbone stories. And then, in 2020, I wrote the final PSB novel and threw in the towel for the Wrathbone stories, not publishing any that year, and only writing 16 pages of one.
I was done. Physically and mentally. Writing had become way too hard. More so than normal. Physically, the arthritis in my hand was making things increasingly difficult to do, and spending long hours writing was one thing that killed my hand. I was setting up mental road blocks to not actually write because I knew what pain I’d have. I was trying to find the best pen, the best technique to write, anything to not actually write. And no, that’s not writer’s block, just a mental barrier because even though I wanted to write, I didn’t want pain that would come along with it. And I knew it would.
Plus, if your posture isn’t great, your back aches, your shoulder creeps upwards and hurts, your elbow, your wrist, every knuckle in your hand. It all goes and you end up in pain.
Thankfully, since 2019, I’ve been put on medication for my arthritis, and the pain has reduced by about 95%. I still have bad days with electricity shooting though my knuckles. My thumb knuckles, the most arthritic joint in the body, hurt like hell, my Carpometacarpal joints burn after a couple of hours, and I’ve even taken to writing like Taylor Swift in her Anti-Hero film clip. It helps alleviate the pain, let me tell you.
So, for me, it actually is the writing process that is the most arduous, the most painful. The editing is incredibly easy by comparison because the bones of the story are done. I just need to add the flavours.