Dear writers, don’t forget this.

Words

If you’re a writer, there’s something simple you need to remember:

Good books are hard to write. Bad books are a breeze.

Writing a good book is a battle. You fight fear and laziness and doubt. Good books take vulnerability and courage and creativity to write.

Do you know what it takes to write a bad book?

Typing.

The next time you struggle to complete a thought, create a character or make a point in your book and the shadows of frustration creep across the page, don’t forget. It’s OK for it to be difficult. It’s supposed to be.

Good books are hard to write. Bad books are a breeze.

 

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Comments

  1. David Mike says

    I have been writing my book purely on memory of my past. I recently was given a bunch of letters that I wrote during that timeframe and also a document with dates, names and very detailed information. The writing for me now gets easier! It will be the editing and grammar stuff that will be the challenge.

  2. HolliB says

    “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” –Thomas Mann

  3. Joe says

    I disagree. I think you can still churn out a bad book without typing if you have voice recognition software.

    But go with the free versions. It’s not like grammer matters anyways.

  4. Nick says

    In that case, my book is going to be AWESOME!

    Seriously, thanks for the reminder. I wrote 20,000 words of a book a while ago in like 2 weeks. And they were crap. So I scrapped them. And it’s taken me a while and a battle to get the 30,000 good words that I’m editing now.

    Nothing like writing an entire book about how much I sucked at being a husband to really bring the “writing is tough” thing to the forefront. Some days I don’t want to rehash how much I sucked. But it’s been such an incredible process and I know the book (and the folks who read it) will be better off because I did.

  5. Christian Ahlmann says

    Great word Jon. I think the same goes for “good companies are tough to build,” and most other projects worth doing. If pedaling is super easy, perhaps the chain popped off =)

  6. Jonathan Hill says

    I am a youth pastor. I find the same thing is true for writing messages. Often times the ones that I struggle with the most are the ones that turn out being the best. Preparing a bad sermon is easy. Preparing something that’s meaningful and worth listening to is hard.

    Thanks for this post Jon. It encourages me that its ok when its hard.

  7. Bobby says

    This is exactly what I needed to hear. I have been struggling with doubt and fear, which has hindered my ability to write. This helped me see that maybe I am writing a good book, if it causes me this much pain.

    Or it’s going to cause a lot of people pain to read.

  8. Steve says

    I’ve always enjoyed creating and writing, but never felt I was a writer because I struggled every time I sat down to write. It wasn’t until I read about another writer who explained the love/hate relationship writers have with writing, that I realized I’m a writer! Struggle away!

  9. Tracy says

    Jon’s comments and all of the posted replies need to be tatooed on me or something, because no matter how much I write, the difficulty of it makes me feel like an imposter!

  10. Susie Dunham says

    I just finished writing a piece of prose called Waking a Book. It’s about me giving up writing my novel because it was too hard. Working for three years on it and never seeming to get it where it needed to go. I might post the piece on my blog. Then again I might not. Maybe I should reconsider giving it a wake. Damn you Jon Acuff.

  11. Bob Havey says

    Sitting down to write is often more difficult than the process of writing. All the distractions of life rise up in defiance at the time creativity begins to bubble up from the depths of your soul. There can be no ‘breakthrough’ until you ‘fight through’.

  12. Theresa says

    Thanks Jon,

    I feel like people always say write an ebook it’s easy! I’m about 8,000 words in… but I want it to be awesome. I like what I’ve got so far, but the finishing touches are a challenge. Thanks for the encouragement that it should be!

  13. Rick Lambert says

    Wow! I could really identify with the fear and doubt. I have just completed my first novel, and it’s currently be proofed and edited. It has been one of the hardest projects I’ve ever endured, yet it has also been one of the most enjoyable; it’s in that I take hope. I just found your blog today, and I really like it. Thanks.

  14. Liz Rodwell says

    Thanks for this! I needed to read it today as I work each day to finish my dissertation. There’re too many things to cite, too much data, just… too much. I’m frustrated and fed up with how difficult the process has turned out to be. So a little reminder to “trust the process” is welcomed.

Trackbacks

  1. […] “Good books are hard to write.  Bad books are a breeze.”  This little tidbit has been extremely helpful to me this week as I struggled with self-doubt.  I fight off a lot of doubt when it comes to my writing ability and the things I am writing.  Who cares? is always in the forefront my mind.  Or I compare.  I am currently reading a novel by another fantasy author, and I keep comparing it to my first draft fantasy story I am writing.  I am always doing this.  And I know the saying, “don’t compare your inside with someone else’s outside,” but it is a very hard thing to avoid.  […]

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