Writing Is Harder Than It Seems

Writing is hard work, even if we think it isn’t supposed to be.

Here’s a great story from economist and author Thomas Sowell.

A tourist walking the boardwalk of a famous city spots a caricaturist. He approaches the artist, asks for a drawing of himself, and sits down while the man begins to sketch rapidly on his pad. Just four minutes later, the artist presents the tourist with a brilliant caricature. He’s pleased.

“What do I owe you?” the tourist asks.

“Thirty dollars,” the artist says.

“Thirty dollars?” asks the tourist. “You’re kidding, right? That took you four minutes!”

“No,” says the artist. “It took me 20 years and four minutes.”

Writing is similar. We all have computers and word-processing software. And, in a literal sense, we all know how to write—we know spelling, grammar, punctuation, layout, structure and tone. Because of this, I think, many non-writers believe writing should be easy—and they get frustrated and discouraged when it turns out not to be.

So, why did I tell you this story? Don’t be so hard on yourself. Writing is damn hard work. And almost nobody—least of all a professional writer—is ever satisfied with what they’ve written.

About the Author

Robbie Hyman is a professional communications and public affairs writer. He has 15 years’ experience writing for nonprofits, small business and multibillion-dollar international organizations and is available as a freelance writer for federal agencies.

Robbie has written thousands of pages of content, including white papers, speeches, published articles, reports, manuals, newsletters, video scripts, advertisements, technical document and other materials. He is also co-founder of MoneySavvyTeen.com, an online course that teaches smart money habits to teenagers.