Why We Despise Things That Are Easy

A little while back I wrote about all the narratives (*cough* excuses *cough*) that we come up with about why we can’t write just now.

You know, all the reasons why it’s too hard, too time-consuming, too blah blah blah. All the reasons you don’t do it.

And I meant what I said: we all make up lots of stories that are not actually based on the facts, and that if we so choose, writing can be easy.

But that’s complicated in itself, because we despise things that are easy.

We live in a culture that is obsessssed with hard work. We carry on about how busy, exhausted, overstretched we are, as if those words are gold stars on our report cards rather than symptoms of a shocking lack of boundaries.

Don’t you think it’s kind of janky that when something feels easy — because we love it, or because we’ve practiced a lot and gotten good at it — that we dismiss it?

We seem to think that if it’s easy, it’s worthless, that we’re being lazy, that no one will value it.

But we’ve got it all backwards. We should be proud of the things that come easy — our natural gifts, and our honed skills, the things that have excited us enough to do them gleefully and without resentment.

This is nowhere more true than in our writing.

I’ve written before about the utter nonsense we’ve all heard about how writing must be hard or lonely to be valid.

I say it can be easy. It should be easy. If your writing is torturing you, if it’s turning you into a desiccated husk, stop, please! Take a step away, look around, ask yourself: what if it was easy?

What could I write about that would come easy? What would be fun to write about? What kind of writing makes the time fly by without me noticing?

Could I still enjoy this if it were easy?

I’m not saying that writing will always be a peachy breeze and that you should never stretch yourself. Some days you’ve gotta to stand up and deliver if you want the work to unfold to your liking.

It just doesn’t have to be so hard, even if we like it when it is.