Writing is hard. All by itself with no bells and whistles, when it’s just your thoughts pulsing through your mind, filtered through your heart, and fighting to get out of your fingers as articulately as possible – it’s hard.
But we, we are living in the age of bells and whistles. In a day and time when being published, being read, is easier than ever – the task itself has become harder.
The responsibilities of writing have been weighed down with drudgery. Writers aren’t simply creatives anymore. We are publicists, agents, assistants, marketers, back-scratchers, promoters, tech gurus, networkers, platform-builders . . .
And it is exhausting.
We spend so much time wearing these various hats that we squeeze out any concentrated time or will for doing the real work of writing.
And for all of the “Write to God alone” and “hurry less” and “get back to the basics” keynote speeches and articles – the truth is, while that may be sound and true advice – it’s not the full picture. More is required of writers in the 21st Century. That is the reality.
There is a distinct line that is crossed from passive reader to active writer. You no longer browse your newsfeed and inbox willing to stumble upon inspiration. No, you hunt it down like a trained dog, sniffing, searching for power, for the prize. You scan looking for something new and real and raw to share, to pin, to tweet.
Facebook becomes work. Twitter becomes work. Networking, no matter how genuine and pure of heart, becomes mundane and wearying. Where we used to read slowly, drinking in the words and wisdom of our fellow sojourners, now we speed read, we scroll, we scan H2 headings and either close the article or deem it worthy enough, deep enough, to throw on the “share” pile.
We stop drinking deep. We sip. We sip from a buffet of wisdom. We acknowledge the time and expertise it takes God to mature and ripen a human’s heart by wine-tasting our way through a crate of souls. Swish. Sip. Clean the palette. Swish. Sip.
We stop gorging ourselves on the good, filling our bellies full of truth and life. We nibble. We order a plate of grace appetizers and skip the meal. We become so full on the bite-sized that we leave no room for the gourmet.
And eventually we lose our appetite all together.
So we attend conferences that remind us to connect. To refocus. To slow.
Or we don’t. Because we can’t afford fancy conferences. But we can afford Netflix. So we unplug and veg out, waiting for our muse and our appetite to return.
Or maybe that’s just me.