The Hardest Part of Being a Writer

“What’s the hardest part of being a writer?” someone asked me recently.

I didn’t need to even stop to think about it. My answer was immediate.

“The chair.”

Writing isn’t easy in a hard-backed chair, but I learned a lot from mine.

When I first began writing for publication, I had a dreadful, heavy, wooden chair. Solid. Unmovable. It didn’t roll around the room. It didn’t lean, tilt, or offer even the slightest comfort. Sitting in that chair required a great deal of endurance.

I no longer have that chair, but I learned a lot about writing from it.

  • I learned that it’s easy to make excuses and avoid sitting down, but I learned, too, that nothing gets accomplished that way.
  • I learned patience. I learned persistence.
  • I learned that writer’s block exists only in our heads. We can always write something if we’ll just sit down and do it.
  • I learned that a solid foundation will always support us. In life. In writing. In whatever we do.
  • I learned that pillows can always bring a bit of comfort.

Actually, I’m joking about the last one. I never used a pillow while sitting in that chair. I didn’t need to, because after a while, I got accustomed to the feel of the hard wooden back and seat. As I sat writing, getting lost in my stories, I reached a point where I no longer gave a thought to comfort.  So caught up was I in the lives of my characters, I no longer felt my own body.

At one time, I sat in that chair for twelve hours straight, with only the occasional “necessary” break. How did I do it? I just did. Why did I do it? Because I love writing, and doing what we love is always worth a little discomfort.

I soon began to notice one interesting phenomenon. Each morning when I said “All right, it’s time to write,” I would sit down, and then immediately get up again.  It was sort of like Pavlov’s dogs salivating at the sound of the bell. Sit down. Get up. Immediately.

I worried a bit. Was I really not wanting to write? Was I looking for a way to avoid it? Nope. When I took a closer look and realized why I got up from the chair, it made sense.

  • I got up to attend to any “necessary” business.
  • I got up to grab a bite to eat.
  • I got up to fix a cup of tea.
  • I got up to take care of any pressing chores on my to-do list.
  • I got up to see that everything was settled around me.

I got up, knowing that once I returned to that miserable, hard-backed chair, I wouldn’t be getting up again for a long, long time. Once assured that I could write without interruption, I sat down, and I stayed there.

Everyone who’s ever said “I want to be a writer” has heard those words of wisdom: Sit down in the chair…and then, stay there.

Maybe in some ways it is the hardest part of being a writer, but there are lots of lovely pillows to grab. So pick a pretty one, make yourself comfortable, and get busy.

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8 thoughts on “The Hardest Part of Being a Writer

  1. Well said, Christina! Learning the discipline required to keep butt in chair is one of the hardest lessons a writer has to learn, I think. But once you do, oh the things you can accomplish!

  2. I loved the similes shown here, however I’d like to take a stark reality to the question.
    The hardest parts of being a writer or an author are:
    1. Getting your story written down from those little grey cells of your mind and unto a blank piece of paper.
    2. Writing that elusive final period of your manuscript.
    3. Letting go of what you’ve given birth to and give it to a total stranger to now mold it into something which oozes perfection.
    4 – Getting it into the hands of a publisher to actually publish it.
    [You can skip this if you’re going the self-publish route]
    5 – To actually get people to buy the creation you’ve made.

    And if you’re a glutton for punishment you start the process all over again.

    I must be a REAL GLUTTON as I’m currently working on four endeavors at the same time.

    Robin Leigh Morgan
    YA Paranormal Romance Author
    “I Kissed a Ghost”

  3. I began with a cheaper armless rolling chair, then upgraded to an expensive ergonomics chair, then moved to the living room and luxuriated in a recliner. Now when I sit in the ergo chair, it hurts my butt. so I’ve stuffed an giant cushion on the ergo chair. I create book covers in my office now, but otherwise, I’ve taken over the living room for my writing space. Right now, I’m stretched out on the recliner/rocker with a laptop on my lap typing away. The mouse sits on the foot wide arm of my chair. I have a heating pad to warm my lower back. Yes, I’ve become a complete wimp. And my only distraction from writing is facebook’s constant dings since I have about 15 sites up at once.

    • I have one of the cheaper armless rolling chairs now, and my husband fusses constantly about it. He seems to think I should spend “big bucks” to buy one of those fancy ergonomic chairs, but I’m comfortable in my little low-cost rollabout. When I write, I sit with my legs tucked underneath me…sort of like doing yoga and writing at the same time, you know. Yeah, it looks uncomfortable, but I’m fine. Or maybe it’s just that I’m accustomed to the pain LOL. Honestly, Liza, your recliner sounds comfy, but I don’t think I could ever write that way. Laptops and I have never gotten along well. I think trying to write a novel on one…no, wait… let me rephrase that. I know writing a novel on a laptop would make me crazy. I’d be throwing it across the room after the first two minutes. 🙂

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