Tuesday, November 12, 2019

When Writing Grows Hard

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

It’s a given that writing is not easy. Learning the craft, the art, of writing is no different than learning the craft of pottery or forging. It must be learned. Practiced. Honed. Folks don’t just pick up a pen one day and write a best-selling novel. 

Who of us has not experienced that one friend or family member who encourages us to find a profession that is viable? I remember, as a high school senior reporting for my “courtesy senior consultation” with the guidance counselor. Rest assured, I was not a 4.0 gpa’er, but I was a solid 3.3 average student. The guidance counselor saw my high B’s and low A’s as median. So when I showed up for that senior visit, he laid out a long sheet of paper (this was prior to Excel sheets), took his pen, and scribbled a line of numbers, then said. “93.78 average.”

I smiled. “I’m pleased. That’s an A isn’t it?”

“Barely,” he said. “What are your plans when you graduate?”

“I thought I might go to college and take writing.”

“Nope, won’t work. Writers are a dime a dozen and you don’t have the grades for much else. Perhaps you should consider laborer at a one of the plants.” 

I slid my chair from the table and walked out of the room. An A wasn’t good enough? The partial idea I had for a career as a writer, faded away. Graduation happened and I went to college where my English teacher assigned us a term paper. I chose to write on The Appalachian Granny Women – Truth or Superstition. I worked hard, turned my paper in and when I received a grade, I wished that high school counselor could have seen it.

A red 99% was circled at the top along with this note. “I have never read a paper that made me want to visit the Appalachians and talk to the people like this one. You have a gift. Consider writing.”

When we choose to be a writer, those who don’t understand the craft tend to be negative. They forget that 80% of all they do requires reading, and those things must be written by someone. Writing is a very viable career. Still it’s hard.

Why so hard? Well, we have to gain our bloody knees—those times where we face rejection. This is what pushes us to improve the work we do. That improvement brings future success. The sad thing is, few are willing to get those knees scrapped up. Many are enthralled with being a writer yet at the same time, are not willing to put forth the effort to see it through to success due to laziness, disappointment, or worse, entitlement.

Though writing is a viable career, it’s not always lined with dollars, so there are times we must weigh our ultimate goals. If your goal is to write as a hobby, that is fine. Write as a hobby, but that doesn’t change the fact one must continue to learn and hone the craft. Should your ultimate goal be to make writing a career, then once again, hone the craft. Seek out magazine articles to supplement your income as you work toward a book contract.

Writing is an amazing career but you cannot allow yourself to fall into the traps that breaks a writer. 

Remember, whether you are a gas station attendant or a bank cashier, if you have a dream, with hard work and determination, you can achieve that dream. Still it takes time and practice.

Keep in mind, you don’t know everything. Learning the craft is a years long process. Spend time with folks you can learn from and listen to their guidance and expertise. Sometimes the most important things learned, are learned by sitting at the feet of those who have come before you. Their wisdom and experience are worth a mint.

When naysayers come around, guard your heart and dream. Many times they hide behind the rouse of “trying to help you.” Believe in yourself and hold the course. As naysayers see your small successes grow into larger ones, their attitudes will change.

Pray over your work. Ask the Lord for confidence, wherewithal, and guidance as you work.

Finally, remember that your dream and success as a writer cannot not happen if you never choose to write. You must write.

Writers are a unique bunch. As Christian writers we feel that higher calling. The craft of writing is a satisfaction and joy, but it is hard. When you feel as though everything is against your writing, remember, only you can make the attitude adjustment to forge ahead. Now, put on your work boots and write. You are, after all, a writer. And for the record . . . I believe in you.

Encouragement When Writing Grows Hard - @CindyDevoted on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Cindy K. Sproles is an author, speaker, and conference teacher. She is the cofounder of ChristianDevotions.us and the executive editor of ChristianDevotions.us and InspireaFire.com. Cindy is the managing editor for Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals, both imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is an award-winning and best-selling author and the director of the Asheville Christian Writers Conference. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com. @cindydevoted


  1. Cindy,

    Thank you for this article and the reminder that as writes we have selected a challenging path. I recall as a freshman in journalism taking a class where my first paper came back with as much red ink from my instructor as I had put in black--and on the last page was a B. Yes we must write--no matter what.

    Straight Talk From the Editor

  2. You are so encouraging 🙂 Thanks...

    1. I believe this is what we are called to do. Encourage so the road seems possible.

  3. Thanks Terry. I think we often assume it's a snap. But we have to continue to learn. Even the best writers continue to study.

  4. Thank you. My knees are scraped but it is worth it.
    I love the wisdom in these words, "When naysayers come around, guard your heart and dream. Many times they hide behind the rouse of “trying to help you.” Believe in yourself and hold the course. As naysayers see your small successes grow into larger ones, their attitudes will change."
    Thank you.

  5. I just spent 30 minutes during a bonus training session at our Word Weavers meeting last night making this same point. Writing IS hard, but when we're done, it's SO rewarding. Sharing this post on our FB page right now.