“Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.”

–Red Smith

Some people read this quote and think that what it means is that writing is easy.

What I always took it to mean was that writing is easy, yes. But it’s also really, really hard. Potentially draining, possibly life-threatening, definitely painful.

You give something of yourself up as you write. You expose yourself, in a way.

You open yourself up to the world, and hope that after putting yourself through the pain of bleeding onto paper or screen, nobody will say your blood stinks.

Writing requires courage, even if you don’t share your work with anyone else. Because who knows what you might discover about yourself? Who knows what buried pain you’ll dig up?

Writing takes practice. Everyone can cut themselves and get blood everywhere. But it takes practice to open a vein effectively.

Maybe you start with clumsy stabs, you botch things, you keep trying again. And after doing it again and again, it gets easier to get that vein on the first nick. It gets easier to start bleeding.

And then you reach a point where yes, writing is easy. But it’s also really, really hard.

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