What Makes A Great Writer: Insight or Effort?

A Labour of Love

Writing: A Labour of Love

In graphic terms, insight is like the proverbial tip of the iceberg to the process of writing. Beneath the tip is the whole sum of effort that is required to ensure that writing gets to see the world. Much of what takes place after insight has long gone is hard work, tears and blood so to speak that make writing becoming real.

Of course, for great writers, insight has its part to play. But the fact of the matter is that insight is not always available. In itself, insight is highly ephemeral. It can be like the passing wind.

So it is the effort that has to kick in to ensure that the insight can remain alive to see the light of day.

Many a great writer have complained of the writer’s block. The main cause of the writer block is actually an over-reliance on so-called insight instead of effort in the writing process.

Writers shrink away from writing because they say that the words will not just come. However, it is not that words have to come to the writer in some magical fashion. Instead the writer must make the effort to go out and look for words, and that process takes effort.

So to break it down, in the writing process, great writers know that insight in only about a mere 1 percent of the process, while perseverance and effort constitute 99 percent.

Many beginners to writing view great writers as if they were people who would sit under the grace of some miraculous angel pouring out words to make sentences and paragraphs.

The fact of the matter is that great writers have to groan to find the right words to express an emotion or feeling. In addition, great writers have to be great readers so that they can experience how others fashion images, and that alone takes effort and discipline.

So, in my opinion, great writers rely on effort more than insight. Insight has its part to play, but only so much.

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