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It takes hard writing to make easy reading

Today, while I was driving home from work at ORP, I was listening to a podcast that often inspires me. In the interview-based conversation, these words came up: it takes hard writing to make easy reading.

I actually had to pause it for a moment to say it again in my head so I wouldn't forget it. Then, at the next opportunity, I wrote it down on the pad of sticky notes I keep in my car for moments like this. (I always get my best story ideas while driving, so it's normal for me to pull over at safe opportunities to scrawl a note to myself!)

I'll say it again. It takes hard writing to make easy reading.

How true is that?

One of the hardest parts about being an author is all the planning, drafting, rewriting, developing, refining, proofing. Something that can take someone hours to read could have taken years to write and then years again to edit.

But that's just the nature of the beast, and absolutely makes it worth it when it's as easy to read, process, and understand as possible for the readers.

I won't lie. Writing and editing can be hard and draining, and often I'll wonder if it ever ends or if my work will even be decent and enjoyable at the end. I want to make books that people can visualise worlds and adventures and smells and sounds and cultures when they read it and feel like they had an experience at the end of it.

But that kind of goal means lots of work for me to make less work for the readers. So they can just experience.

Again, it takes hard writing to make easy reading.

I love that, and I'm going to remember that for the rest of my life. You might see me use it everywhere because it's absolutely worth being everywhere!

A reminder that hard work brings results for those it matters most with.

If you're a writer, remember it's the experience of the reader that counts. That your work now planning and drafting and rewriting and refining is what will make the reader adore your work and have a good time reading it.

After all, if you're writing a book, isn't it for the readers?

Writing can be cathartic and a therapeutic process for you, and at the same time, it's going out there to help others in the same place as you, and so it needs to be easy for them to read, relate to you, and understand.

If you're like me and you write because you enjoy creating adventures and new worlds, it's also got to give your readers those adventures in easy-to-join, thrilling ways.

But that's fine. Remember, it takes hard writing to make easy reading. And if that takes time, remember this little phrase and enjoy the time it's taking and know that you're making it be the best it can be for those who count: your readers.

Back to the podcast!

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Ned Stephenson
Ned Stephenson
Jan 21, 2022

Another great article, thank you Ren.

All art takes work. I'm not sure it always needs to be hard, as in difficult or laboured, but it certainly must be thoughtful. And thoughtful takes time, in requires patience, and it needs practice.

A brush stroke may not take a long time to place on the canvas, yet it must be applied with concentration and feeling. I find a sentence is no different.

Why do epiphanies occur while driving?

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