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Pep Talk from Justina Ireland

photo of Justina Ireland

Dear Writer,

Writing sucks.

That’s most likely what you’re thinking right now. Whether you’re chugging along making your daily word goal or you fell off of the wagon day one (it happens!), you’re probably wondering whether all of this angst and doubt is worth it. After all, why should you write a book in the first place? You could watch Netflix instead.

But here’s the thing: you started this journey for a reason. What was that? Was it because you think writing will make you rich and famous (if so, you should really revise that expectation, stat)? Is it because you have a story burning through your brain and putting pen to paper was the only way to find peace? Or was it because writing a book is one of those things you always wanted to do, and now here you are, finally making it happen.

That, of course, does not make writing suck any less.

Sorry, folks.

And that really is the secret to writing: it will always suck, and it will suck in different ways. Sometimes it will suck because a scene is finally coming together, only to have it fall apart a few pages later. Sometimes it sucks because you realize your outline was too ambitious, too much, and you have to leave a few subplots on the side of the road. Or maybe it sucks because it’s a thing you’ve thought about for so long that your mental image doesn’t mesh with the reality of sitting in a chair and plinking away on the keys. And sometimes, more often than not, it will suck because you will stare your own mediocrity right in the face (or the screen) and you will have to reckon with the fact that maybe you just aren’t good enough to write this story.


All of these are reasons that you should just quit. Go on, close the computer, queue up the Netflix, and stream an entire season of a TV show you won’t remember in a month.


You could accept the pure simple truth of writing: it is work. And like all work, it sucks. The level of difficulty doesn’t mean that work isn’t worth it. It just means that you have to accept that, like all work, there will be good days and bad, and learning how to power through the bad is just as important as reveling in the good. So yes, it will suck. It will be hard. You will want to quit.

But the more you dig in, the harder you strive, the more you just let yourself work, putting forth all of the effort and discomfort it implies, the better you’ll be at it. That doesn’t mean it’ll ever feel any easier, but it does mean that you’ll have more to show for your efforts.



Now let’s get to work.

Visit Justina's website.

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