Reading is magical. It transports you to new places and introduces you to new friends. It even allows you to become entirely different people. And books are fluid. No two people have ever read the same book, and so often, the book is different at different times in the same person’s life. There is nothing more magical than that.
But writing is much less magical. It is routine. It’s work, plain and simple. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t lovely. I love writing or I wouldn’t spend so much time doing it. But for a long time I believed that if writing required so much work from me, it meant I wasn’t good at it. For some reason, I believed that true writers wrote effortlessly.
Now I know just how absurd that is. If a book is good, then the creation appears effortless. That’s the true magic of writing, and the reason writers are magicians in a way. They perform an amazing illusion – taking something that required work and making it look easy.
Writing is much like alchemy in that writers take base metal and hopefully manage to turn it into gold. But it requires hard work, not magic.
There is nothing better than finishing a marathon. It’s the most incredible feeling in the world, but when I cross the finish line, it’s not magical. I don’t look around, surprised that I have reached my destination. I remember exactly how I got there. It’s the end product of early mornings, long runs, and sore muscles. When I finish writing a book, it’s not magic either. It’s the culmination of time put in, the bending, shaping, and reworking of the base material.
Don’t ever think for one moment that working hard on something means you’re doing it wrong. It means you’re doing it.