Welcome back everyone to this corner of the web.

As I was getting ready to leave work today, a colleague stopped by to say “I didn’t know you wrote. When do you write?” In my line of work it’s a very legitimate question, as the hours are crazy. So I answered that I write after work and pretty much whenever I can.

Later on this evening, I thought about this more and I have to admit that writing is hard. Well, let’s say it’s not easy. It’s not easy for a person who has a lot of spare time, but it’s even more challenging for someone with a full-time job.

So, here are 15 reasons not to get yourself into this adventure, in no particular order:

  • You need to come up with an original idea – You’re not going to write ‘1984’. Orwell already wrote it. It needs to be unique. Granted, it could be unique in any number of ways, so it’s more than possible. But it still requires some looking into…

  • The idea is supposed to be interesting (to more people than your mom) – I hope you don’t intend on keeping your story all for yourself now, are you? Make sure that the idea is of interest to a relatively large number of people. Up to you and your goals really.

  • Having an idea is not enough. You need a concept – an idea is nice. I have ideas all the time. But a story cannot be written based on an idea, as it is disconnected from characters, settings, and other critical elements of story telling. In the end of the day, an idea can spark a story, but that is all it does.

  • You need to create some characters – Some things will need to happen to someone right? You need to come up with this someone. You need to ensure that he/she meets some resistance (more characters), get some help (more characters) and so on and so forth.

  • The characters need to be, and appear different on the paper – John Doe from Tennessee, who was born with a limp couldn’t possibly be identical to Lenny Berkowitz who just celebrated his Bar mitzvah… It’s up to you, master of puppets, to make sure they don’t come out as one and the same…

  • Well, it takes time… – Trust me on this one.

  • You need to write a lot of words – Again, trust me.

  • You need to make sure your story makes sense within the context of your concept, settings, etc. – No matter what genre your story is, it has to make sense in that the reader doesn’t scratch his head in frustration after every paragraph. Things happen for a reason, they occur in a time and a place with some rules (even if the only rule is that there are no rules).

  • Your main character has to develop as the story goes forward – A main character simply can’t make it from page 1 to the last and stay the same. Not if you want the reader to care and root for him.

  • You need to hook the reader and keep him flipping pages – Pretty self-explanatory. Not trivial though. How many books did you put down before the end?

  • You need to resolve all loose ends before you’re done – The story needs to end, so every question that was asked needs to be answered. Or, even if you like to “leave things open”, it has to be acknowledged and handled appropriately. You don’t want the reader to ask “Hey! How about that Joe Schmoe guy? what happened to him?”

  • You need to give a satisfactory end (more on this on a future post) – Satisfactory doesn’t necessarily mean happy (although I’m a sucker for a happy ending). But it has to mean something. It has to live up to the promise you give the reader at the beginning.

  • You question yourself at every turn. When is the question in place and when is it simply paranoia? – Well… I’ll tell you about it when I figure it out (Don’t hold your breath).

  • You need to finish what you started… – Sounds easier than it is, believe you me.

  • Once you’re done… prepare for re-write\s – What? re-write? I refer you to exhibit A. You’re not done after you ceremoniously type ‘The End’. You’re just done with the first draft. This will need some work (trust me on that one too) and even when you do all you can, it still needs to be edited and so forth.

Well, those were just the first 15 that came to my head as I was thinking it up. Believe me, I could go on for at least 15 more. But you get the idea. It’s not a simple task by any stretch of the word.

So why!?

Why in god’s green earth am I doing this? That may be a topic for a whole separate post. For now, please accept my simple answer – because I need to do this.

See, there are millions stories already written. But there are stories yet to be told. There are more such stories than there are people to write them. So sure, it ain’t easy. But don’t we tell our kids that life never is?

  •  Do you have a story?

  • Did you write it?

  • How hard was it?

Let me know.

until next time

More on writing challenges:

One thought on “15 Reasons Not To Write

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