The independent news organization of Duke University

Writing is the worst

I hate writing. I hate the moment you look at a blank page, and suddenly, words are supposed to flow, as if by some magical force. I hate the emptiness staring back at me as nothing comes to mind. I hate the openness of writing, your inner thoughts suddenly being known. I hate being weighed down by ideas that cannot free themselves from my mind. I hate the feeling of imperfection, of being unable to find the right word to capture your feelings. I hate sitting in silence, typing random words just to fill the page and make some sort of progress. 

Writing feels like a monotonous labor towards an unattainable goal. It is a seemingly endless sprint towards nothing, maybe an idea, maybe a broad concept, but in actuality, nothing. There is no finish line, no indication of completion. It is your decision. You determine when to stop. You get to make the final call. And that is terrifying.

The only voice on your paper, in your mind, is your own. Ideas talk to each other, words line up against one another. Yet, you are alone. Each word is your own. Each idea, your own. You are isolated in your universe of thoughts. 

You feel a need, a compulsion, to finish the writing as fast as possible. You are suffocating in your thoughts. You need to solve the mystery. You are desperate.

Which one is right? Which word is perfect? Did I say that the way I felt it? You repeatedly ask yourself questions, expecting, perhaps, for an answer outside of the walls of your mind. But, there is only silence. You are supposed to answer the questions that fumble around in your brain, keeping you awake. Writing is a lonely process.

Of course, you can turn to an editor, a friend perhaps, a family member. But, only you know what you hope the writing to be. Only you know the emotions that must be conveyed. An editor can only go so far if the story is not yet written and the ideas remain trapped inside your head. 

Who can forget the fact that someone may just read your writing? The thought itself is nauseating. Someone will have a look into your mind, your most intimate ideas, judging them through their own lens, their own way of seeing the world. The vulnerability of writing suddenly scribbled across. The red lines littering your page, hours of work critiqued in minutes. Words cut, sentences changed, you feel like you are losing track of what you wanted to write about in the first place. Your voice is silenced. 

Digging through those lines, you find the original piece. You rework, you edit. Suddenly, you remember why you started writing in the first place. You feel yourself get closer to an imaginary finish line, one that you had to set so long ago. You’re almost there. 

There is perhaps no better feeling than finishing a piece of writing, scanning over every word and breathing a sigh of relief. It’s done. It may not be the Pulitzer Prize you had hoped for, but you are proud. You are satisfied. As if by some miracle, the words fit together like a puzzle, and you feel your thoughts breathe life on the page. 

Your mind is finally put at ease. Finally, the thoughts that have entrapped the essence of your waking hours are transcribed. You feel lighter, freer. As the metaphor goes, the world is your oyster. Anything is possible now that the worst is over. You can finally relax. 

Within moments, another thought, another blank page. The sprint begins again.

Discussion

Share and discuss “Writing is the worst” on social media.