Four Things I Love About Writing And The One Thing I Hate

I know the title of this blog post might make you wonder how are there only four things to love and just one thing to hate about writing, but it would’ve been a long post if I listed everything I love and hate.

So, in the interest of keeping it brief-ish, here are the top four reasons why my love of writing is so strong, and the one thing that frustrates me the most.

1. The Writing

If you’re going to list what you love about writing, number one has to be actually writing. Sure there are days when I procrasta-write instead of churning out decent prose, but once I’m stringing together sentences and re-writing that paragraph about a sunset I’ll later cut, it’s the only way I want to spend any of my time.

2. The Discovery

This ranges from finding a love of writing itself, to everything you discover while you’re doing it. Those little plot twists that come together. That idea you thought of five years ago that makes sense for the book you started writing last month. Your characters surviving everything you do to them and then discovering that they (and you) are better for it. It’s finding your hidden talent of crafting words in a beautiful way. That you can write a whole book, no matter how many years it takes. It’s also unearthing how strong you are and how you can keep going after setbacks and the grief of rejection.

3. The Planning

I’m not a planner in the traditional sense. I don’t need character profiles, every plot twist nailed down, and an outline of each chapter to start writing. What I’m good at is planning after the fact. This uses my reverse outlining superpowers to make sense of the first draft so that I can move through the second like a detective, piecing it all together and working out where all the strong and weak spots are.

4. The Calm

That calm that comes over you after you’ve written is the biggest natural high. It’s like ticking off your to-do list every day with satisfied smugness. When I’ve written, a weight has lifted and I’ve achieved my goals for the day, even if I got nothing else done.

But, as the cliché goes, the calm comes before the storm, and the stormiest thing about writing—the one thing I hate the most—is…

1. The Unknown

As much as rejection and the self-doubt sucks, you can push past them (eventually, and aided by lots of chocolate). It’s the unknown that bothers me.

The unknown is not knowing why an agent rejected you.

It’s not knowing why it seems like you’re the only writer in the world who didn’t land an agent or a book deal on your first try. I know that’s not true but social media is crafty about making you feel as if every other writer signed with the first agent they contacted, or that their book sold during their first round of submissions. It makes you wonder what you’re doing wrong.

It’s also never knowing if what you’re writing is as good as you want it to be, especially when the constant rejection makes you think that it’s not.

Not knowing if or when it’ll ever be your turn to catch that break makes writing something I hate. It’s during those days that the most important thing to remember is the four reasons why I love it, and to never stop finding new things about writing to love and add to my list.

What are the four things you love the most? Let me know in comments.

— K.M. Allan

26 thoughts on “Four Things I Love About Writing And The One Thing I Hate

  1. Here, here. Well put! Love your description of stringing lovely sentences together into a sunset you’ll eventually cut. But you just don’t know, do you, so you have to write and write–and once in a while intuition and hard work come together to create something really awesome. Fingers crossed that all the unknown will be worth it in the end!

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  2. Since I still have writing as a hobby, the best thing is that it’s kind of relaxation that lets the normally used parts of my brain to rest while those normally unused are now fired up, sometimes to overdrive. Combined with the feeling of creating something, it’s something that’s becoming addictive, maybe too much…

    Which sometimes makes me think if I’ve gone too far and actually becoming addicted to writing if it’s even possible.

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  3. It’s a wonderful hobby … I feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction having written a good piece. As for writing a book … I’m starting one but simply don’t know the process … I’m just writing it. Any clues as to where even to start.??

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  4. I think for me, the one thing I love the most about writing is WRITING, indeed. That moment when I’m not in the world anymore, I’m inside the story, lost, immersed, completely giving myself away to those characters and that story: I AM that story. That’s what I love the most, the one and only thing, the actual writing. Seeing the ideas come so fast I can hardly jot them down because I don’t type that fast, watching the plot thicken, characters developing, growing, transforming, becoming real. That’s it. Everything else, I tend to loathe. I hate editing. I hate writing the blurb. I hate formatting, I hate having to market and advertise my books. I hate that no one reads them and I hate when those who actually do send me messages saying they won’t post reviews because the book sucks. I hate thinking how every other writer has like a 1000000 rave reviews for their novels and I don’t, it always makes me think I suck and can’t get things right, I loathe seeing books I read and found to be absolute crap being given five star reviews as it makes me feel that I don’t really know what good writing is. I hate everything about the writing world except the actual writing ahahh, but because I’m a huge masochist I go back everytime and keep at it. And so must you!

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    1. That’s how I feel about writing too, Ruth. Although I don’t mind the editing parts either. I’ve read some of your stuff and you don’t suck, but I can understand how easy it is to think that because it’s always so much easier to focus on the negative. As I’ve said in this blog, the constant rejection and not knowing why makes me think my writing must be bad, but I know from others (including you) who have read some of my stuff that that’s not completely true either. As you said, the important thing is that you don’t give up, and you’re still publishing your work for others to read, and I’m about to start submitting again, so I think we’ve got this!


  5. I’ll lump mine together since I don’t have a definite number in mind: When you reach the point where the characters take over and begin writing the story for you. You actually get inside their minds (and they, yours), and if you listen carefully, they’ll lead you where you need to go. It could be a red herring, a plot twist, an out of character (for them) tirade. Simply listen and follow. That, to me, is when writing is a joy.
    Conversely, when you’re sitting there staring at the screen (or paper) and nothing comes, that’s when writing sucks. No matter how you try to force it, the right words or direction refuse to appear. And that’s as simply as I can describe my experience. 🙂

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  6. Oh such a good list! I love writing a surprising simile. They either make my laugh at myself, like a deranged bum on the curb at the gas station (what?! No, don’t use that, goofus), or they make me wiggle my toes in delight, feeling brilliant, and self-satisfied. Also, with writing, I just adore the time. I have all the time in the world to say exactly what I mean and take the reader right where I want them to go. In real life, I never have enough time to say what I mean, and it seldom comes out right. On paper, I am a craftsman. A therapist. An artisan. A scientist mixing solutions and drawing out meaning and connections. In my days I’m a SAHM, whose cooking skills are negligible. Writing is totally my craft that makes me feel alive, like a totally exciting human being. 😎

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  7. I love this post, it’s so relatable and I feel exactly the same way. There is so much I love about writing, and that’s why I do it. But it’s hard to know that your pride and joy may never get you published, and knowing when to try with a second project. Of course, we write for ourselves first, for passion, but that doesn’t mean the desire to pursue writing as a career isn’t strong. The unknown is a real killer at times. You sum it up perfectly here ❤

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  8. I’ve been thumbing through your website since it was called out by JM Williams. Nicely done. I chose to respond to this post in particular because you nailed it so well. My four plus one exactly.
    JM was right, you do have this writing-about-writing thing down pat.

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