15 Things Every Writer Knows

1. That language is a maze. It is an art and a calculation that when even slightly off is glaring to even the most blasé of readers– or at least, that’s what we fear. There are a thousand different ways to craft what you want to say, and every choice in every sentence does matter.

2. The unprecedented unraveling that is getting something that hurts you out of your heart and onto paper. Encrypting our paragraphs with what we really want to say to people, but just don’t have the guts to without the guise of “fiction.”

3. How the story really ends. When you live with characters inside you, you know how they end up, even if you never acknowledge it entirely. You have the answers that people go to the grave craving.

4. That there are few more frustrating endeavors. Every art has it’s difficulties, but when it comes to writing, there is a certain mix of truth, self and vulnerability we bring. It’s not a matter of not being able to write, it’s a matter of getting caught in all the doubts.

5. How reading is the greatest catalyst for writing. Writers need to read, plain and simple. It’s where we derive a lot of our inspiration to plow forth: to give to someone the same soul-touching experience that we had when we read that one book, that one time.

6. That there are elements of an author’s life so deeply infused into every piece of writing, they often don’t even realize it. Reading someone’s work, even if it is fictional, is a glimpse into their psyche, a manual of their being; they’ve just written it with enough buffers that they can convince themselves you won’t understand.

7. That sometimes the best way to travel is on a couch with a book, or a pen and paper.

8. That there are few things that look as beautiful at night and more absolutely terrible in the morning than your own writing. What seems ingenious initially will usually fade to head-shaking-shame of how you could possibly write something that inept.

9. That some people were meant to live out stories and some were meant to write them down. The greatest writers are the ones who do both.

10. That inspiration finds you in the unexpected crevices of everyday life. Sometimes you have to just stop looking for it.

11. That at times, feelings form words and build up inside of us, and the only way to get them out is to spill it all on paper. Sometimes I think the only reason people write is to make themselves feel human again. To see their unseen reality physically. To sort through the trenches of their minds.

12. That the truly successful writers are so because of what they say, not how they say it. That is the great secret. You can be miraculously gifted at writing prose, but what you really need is something to use it on.

13. That writing is usually a process of writing bits and pieces and editing and revising until we just can’t look at it anymore. I think pieces are finished not when we think they’re perfect, but when we just absolutely can’t stand to even look at the words anymore.

14. That we need people in our lives that inspire us, for better or for worse. I know many writers who get into or stay in otherwise-doomed relationships just so they can have experiences to write about. I’m not saying I condone those types of relationships, but I am saying that people will go to great lengths to ensure that constant flow of inspiration.

15. That we cannot just simply sit and write, but that we have to live, and write about what we take from it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Drew Coffman

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